Spa salesman admits bilking investors
LAS VEGAS – An Oregon man wanted in three states for crimes ranging from grand larceny to embezzlement admitted Thursday his involvement in a $425,000 hot tub investment scheme.
Todd Andrew Surgeon, 30, of Central Point, Ore., who spent a short time in Carson City’s jail in May, faces up to five years in prison and restitution after pleading guilty to one count of securities fraud in Las Vegas.
According to the indictment filed by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Protection, Surgeon sold investors a limited number of shares of common stock in Americana Corp., which purported to be a leisure equipment and spa distribution company. He told potential investors that he would personally buy back their shares of common stock for three times the purchase price within a year.
According to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Surgeon committed fraud by claiming investments were risk-free and guaranteed. He also failed to disclose that the vice president of the company had previously been indicted in U.S. District Court for conspiracy, wire fraud and aiding and abbetting.
Surgeon previously admitted two felony counts of embezzlement in Placer County, Calif.
Surgeon’s license for his Incline Village spa business was revoked in June 2000 by Washoe County commissioners.
Legal troubles with his spa business followed Surgeon to Incline Village from Medford, Ore.
In Oregon, Medford police alleged he took money from two customers for hot tubs he didn’t deliver.
Two judgments totaling $65,000 were also filed against Surgeon in Medford before he moved to Incline in 1999.
Five people won judgments against Surgeon totaling more than $12,000 in Incline Justice Court just before his license was revoked.
Washoe County commissioners said there was enough evidence stacked against Surgeon to permanently revoke his business license.
“The decision was based on a preponderance of evidence,” said Jim Galloway, county commissioner. “The preponderance was that the improper business activities he conducted were to take money without delivering a product.”