March 8, 1998 in Nation/World

TV Pitchman Faces Fraud Counts

Associated Press
 

A get-rich-quick infomercial guru of late-night television has been charged in a 90-count federal indictment with defrauding the public and laundering $7 million.

William McCorkle was indicted Thursday with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud through his telemarketing business, 10 months after federal agents raided his Lake Mary home and Orlando offices.

The indictment said McCorkle misled consumers in infomercials and seminars and the videotapes and booklets that were promoted as a way to make money by purchasing pre-foreclosed real estate.

The indictment also said consumers were misled with claims that thousands of people had become wealthy using the program and that McCorkle would allow consumers to use his money to finance purchases at government auctions.

If convicted, McCorkle could be sentenced to up to 24-1/2 years in prison and fined up to $250,000. Prosecutors also charged his wife, Chantal, and two business associates, Sammy Smith and Brian Higgins.

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