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Magic Johnson Denies Scheme

Times Staff Writer

Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s financial advisor said Friday that neither he nor the former Laker star could recall ever having contact with Financial Solutions, a company that federal authorities shut down this week, alleging it operated an investment scam that preyed on African Americans.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Solutions claimed Johnson would attend a dinner and investment presentation Oct. 22 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey. Johnson was a no-show, but the promoters told an audience of 500 that his financial advisor, whom they did not name, was an investor with Financial Solutions, said Lisa Gok, an SEC enforcement supervisor in Los Angeles.

“I have never heard of these people,” Warren Grant, Johnson’s longtime investment advisor, said Friday. “I certainly wouldn’t want my clients to see my name linked to something as stupid as this.”

Grant added that he had talked to Johnson, now a successful businessman, who also denied having any contact with or knowledge of Financial Solutions.

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Ontario-based Financial Solutions, an affiliated concern in Riverside called Ohana Investments Inc. and Christiano Hashimoto, 44, of Riverside, the president of both companies, were named in an SEC securities fraud lawsuit filed this week. A federal judge in Riverside has frozen the defendants’ assets and appointed Robb Evans & Associates of Sun Valley as a receiver.

Hashimoto’s attorney, Matthew D. Anhut of Bryan Cave, said Friday that he hadn’t studied the case enough to make detailed comments. Still, Anhut questioned some of the evidence, noting that an investor whose affidavit was attached to the SEC filings said Financial Solutions had never missed a payment.

The SEC alleges that Financial Solutions, which promised to pay 20% interest the first month and 10% monthly after that, was operating a Ponzi scheme, making payments to early investors with funds from later victims.


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