MARKETING AND MEDIA : SEC Halts Wireless Cable Investments at Newport Firm

Compiled by Anne Michaud, Times staff writer

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has halted sales at several companies--including a Newport Beach operation--that are selling investments in wireless cable television, the agency said Thursday.

The wireless cable system being sold is in Parkersburg, W. Va. This is the fourth time this year that federal or state officials have shut down wireless cable sales operations. The sellers, officials allege, have promised unrealistically high returns on investments while siphoning exorbitant fees out of the operation.

Cablefree Investments Inc. in Newport Beach was one of nine companies targeted in the latest SEC action. Investors paid $10,000 each, for a total of $10.3 million raised by promoters of the Parkersburg system since January. Officials said the sales companies kept $6 million of the proceeds.

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