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SEC denies claims of alarm maker

April 14, 2001

SEC denies claims of alarm maker



By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A businessman facing securities fraud charges says he has accepted a settlement proposed by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, but an SEC official said he knows of no agreement.

Carl Robinson of Hagerstown, owner of Cellular Video Car Alarms Corp., plans to use cellular phone technology to make vehicle alarms. He posted an update on his case last month at his company's Web site.

"The agreement awaits final approval by the SEC Commissioners and the Federal District Court," the site states.

"I'm not aware of that settlement," said Robert Blackburn, the associate regional director for the SEC's Northeast bureau in New York.

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Robinson's court case is in the pre-trial phase, Blackburn said.

The SEC filed civil charges against Robinson and his business in October. He defrauded more than 200 investors nationwide by selling over $400,000 in unregistered stock, the SEC contends.

A U.S. District Court temporary restraining order froze Robinson's assets.

Robinson is accused in court papers of saying he had a working prototype when he didn't, falsely claiming ties with AT&T and Nokia and making grandiose multibillion-dollar sales projections.

A Nokia spokeswoman said in October that Nokia did not have "any kind of established business relationship" with Cellular Video.

The attorneys general of Maryland and New York filed charges against Robinson and his business in October, the day after the SEC did.

In December, Maryland fined Robinson and Cellular Video $120,000. The fines were based on four violations apiece for each of three particular investors prosecutors picked for the case.

The state banned Robinson from selling securities.

Robinson's appeal of the final order is pending, so the case hasn't been turned over to the state's collection agency, said Assistant Attorney General Timothy Cox.

The New York case, which alleges improper solicitations over the Internet attracted about $150,000 in investments, is also unresolved, said Brad Maione, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in New York.

One investor in the Maryland case, Ernest Mitchell of Hampton, Ga., said Friday he supports Robinson and his venture.

"I think he has a good idea that can get off the ground, that should get off the ground," said Mitchell, who wasn't aware his transaction was used to prosecute Robinson.

He suggested competitors might be fueling the prosecution as a way to beat Robinson to the market.

The two other investors named in the Maryland case - a Baton Rouge, La., man and a Goshen, Ind., woman - couldn't be reached Friday afternoon.

Robinson has closed his company's Robinwood Drive office. He said Wednesday he can no longer afford the rent, so he's working out of his home and another office.

"The ordeal of the AT&T instigated SEC litigation is leaving the corporation financially exhausted and having to seek bridge loans ...," the Cellular Video Web site says.

It asks that "any company or individual interested in assisting the corporation" contact Robinson.

Robinson said he expects his car alarm system to go on sale this year.

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