Radio host Harry I. “Sonny” Bloch was charged Thursday with defrauding investors of nearly $21 million by promoting phony deals on his financial advice show.
The allegations were contained in an indictment and a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint against Bloch, who fled the United States in March and has been broadcasting from the Dominican Republic ever since.
“The Sonny Bloch Show,” on the air for 15 years, has been heard across the nation on 170 stations.
The 58-year-old Bloch and four others were accused of using his daily broadcasts to promote fraudulent wireless cable and radio schemes, including one based in Kennewick. The charges include conspiracy and fraud.
U.S. Attorney Faith S. Hochberg said investors sank about $17 million into three wireless systems that have failed or are “marginal”: Southern Tennessee Wireless Cable in Hohenwald, Tenn.; Greater Columbia Basin Wireless Cable, in Kennewick, Wash.; and Global Wireless and World Wireless, in Caracas, Venezuela.
Thousands of people were fooled by descriptions of the investments as suitable for retirement plans, Hochberg said.