Fraud convict still owes

Ex-investment counselor failed to pay restitution

More than $3.5 million due

Judge to decide sentence for violating probation.

Anne Arundel

March 20, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A former Annapolis investment counselor convicted of swindling clients out of millions of dollars will return to court for sentencing next month, but on the least serious of alleged probation violations.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth will decide April 3 what to do about the failure of Joshua Fry, 67, to pay restitution on more than $3.5 million due from cheating 131 clients out of $4.7 million in the early 1990s.

"He has not written one check, not one money order," said Carolyn H. Henneman, chief of the criminal investigation division of the Maryland attorney general's office, noting that Fry has not made significant efforts to find work. "He didn't pay a dime."

The state was able to recover some money by seizing his assets and through another case in which Fry's lawyer said his client helped the state.

But T. Joseph Touhey, Fry's lawyer, said the Washington man does not have the money. He described Fry as impoverished and in bad health, living on Social Security benefits, food stamps and a few thousand dollars a year for writing the financial advice newsletter, Wasting Assets, that he began in prison.

Silkworth ruled this week that Fry did not violate other terms of probation, though he teetered close by getting involved in an investment organization, Henneman said.

After serving 4 1/2 years of an eight-year prison term for theft and violating state securities and income tax laws, Fry was paroled in 1999. He is serving 10 years' probation.

Henneman alleged that Fry defied probation conditions by offering investment advice and contended that he defrauded investors out of a few hundred thousand dollars in an investment fund that failed in 2001.

But Touhey said restaurateur Ricky Shum, not Fry, was in charge of the fund, Technology Trading, most of whose investors were pilots. He said Fry worked for Shum and was not offering client advice for profit.

Henneman said she was unsure what sanctions she will ask Silkworth to impose. She can ask the judge to return Fry to prison to serve the remainder of his term. She also can ask Silkworth to create a payment plan so that Fry makes restitution.

Whether Henneman's office can file new criminal charges is unclear because Fry neither lives nor works in Maryland and Silkworth did not find that he broke the law again.

Fry's 1995 conviction stems from the early 1990s, when he had a WPGC-AM radio program, Exercise Your Options, on which he promoted GTC, an investment fund. He promised to invest money from GTC, which Henneman said stood for Good Till Canceled.

Though he repaid early investors, later investments paid for his trips to casinos, a stable of racehorses and other spending. He vanished from Annapolis and in 1994 was found living under an assumed identity in Cincinnati. He was arrested and returned to Anne Arundel for trial.

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