CA CAL PRIDE OSTRICH FARM SCAM
IN THE BEGINNING was a video advertising an investment opportunity in an ostrich farm, Cal Pride, CP. It was about January 1997, CP was seeking investors. The video appeared on a commercial television station, and was being broadcast in Missouri and other states. Interested parties could call an 800 number and get a copy of the video. By ordering the video, CP got the names, addresses and telephone numbers of potential investors.
Shortly after receiving the video, investors were contacted by a CP marketer selling interests or units in CP for $10,000 each. The marketer stated that if you didn't invest immediatelly, the opportunity would be lost. Furthermore, he repeatedly asked if the buyer wanted more than one share. For those who stated they needed some time to think about it, at least 24 hours, the marketer agreed to call back the next day. When he did, he again suggested immediate investment, and stated that he was holding an extra share or unit if the buyer was interested. This latter statement is very curious, because on the intial contact, he stated that units were scarce and going quickly.
The smallest investment was $10,000, but some investors committed as much as $750,000 and more as the alleged scam progressed. Total investments by all share holders are estimated to be as high as $15 million. There are 685 known investors. Investors were organized into groups. No one from one group knew who was in the other groups. Each group had a chair or president, but none of the leaders were introduced to other group leaders. Separating groups and keeping member names confidential limited or eliminated communication.
By all appearances, CP looked like a good, albeit, a risky investment. Ted Loeschner and Steve DePressi, owners, first offered A General Partnership Contract which was later turned into a Limited Liability Contract in California.
WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE, NOT TO MENTION CP?
Investors were told to expect a return on their money by the second year, that their investment would be repayed within two years,and by year four, an investor would receive between $24,000 and $40,000 from an intial $10,000 investment.
No return on the investments occurred during the first year or the second. Various excuses were given, mostly regarding the need for more equipment or products to support the birds. A Summer '97 letter was sent to investors stating that distributions were to be given out to 81595-LLC, 30196-LLC, and partnerships 53196 and 73196. It is alleged that no distributions were ever made. However, the letter stated that Linda Lynch, an expert in ostrich ranching had been hired.
A letter sent 10/15/98, stated that CP purchased Brandywine Meats through a sister company, International Ostrich Corp. With the purchase of Brandywine, october distributions were "delayed". As sharefholders in CP, it might be thought that those same shareholders would also become shareholders in Brandywine. This did not happen.
In an earlier letter from Steve DePressi, 2/8/98, he stated that "cash flow is split 50% Partners; 40% Cal Pride; and 10% ranch." That 40% is on top of the alleged 50% that Depressi and Loeschner took off the top of the original investments totalling $15 million. That same letter also stated that DePressi, Loeschner and Linda Lynch assigned "the ranch management contract to International Ostrich Corp."
IN THE END investors were told that massive numbers of birds had died and that the meat was being shipped to Brandywine for processing, at which time shareholders would see a return on their money. Again, no known shareholders received a return on their money. Somewhat later, Ted Loeschner allegedly started a penny stock, symbol IOCX, selling over the counter, and requested that shareholders invest in the new stock. It is alleged that the stock continues to be sold, when in fact there is no company.
Loeschner, Depressi, and Lynch may have walked away from CalPride with as much as $15 million and possibly more. Furthermore, it is possible that they still continue to solicit investment capital for a company that no longer exists. It is alleged that most of the investors in CP were elderly and that many invested their retirement and life savings. Homes were mortgaged, 401K's, IRA's were liquidated and savings depleted. It has been reported that Ted Loeschner is now soliciting funds from family members of CP investors for the health club.
The State Attorney's General Offices of California and Missouri have been contacted and provided with documentiaon on Cal Pride business dealings. Also, the FBI has been contacted, but it has been reported that the Cal Pride scam is not significant enough to for immediate action to be taken by the FBI. The SEC and NASD have also been contacted. The two agencies are responsible for governing the investment world and they still allow IOCX stock to be sold. To date, no official action has been taken in the CA Cal Pride Ostrich Farm Scam.
ADDRESSES: Ted Loeschner, 7360 Creston Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446-9484, 805-405-0576. Steve DePressi, 34510 Rock Ln., Acton, CA 93510-1317, 661-269-2042. These are the last know addresses and telephone numbers.