Embattled Woodstock CEO rolled on his pitch man, regulators say

As the feds closed in on Jim Torchia last year, he made a call to a financial analyst at the Texas State Securities Board.


Credit: Johnny Edwards

He wanted to tell them about Bob Guess, his onetime pitch man, the voice in radio ads imploring Rush Limbaugh's listeners to invest in Torchia's Credit Nation network of companies, according to a search warrant filed in a Texas court.

Now Guess appears to be in similar trouble to Torchia. This month, Texas regulators raided Guess' Frisco office and shut him down with an emergency cease-and-desist order, The Dallas Morning News reports. He's also being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, which, Georgia officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is also investigating Credit Nation.

Torchia was sued last year by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, accused in a civil action of running a massive, multi-state Ponzi scheme that put hundreds of elderly and naive investors at risk of losing their life savings. Torchia said the feds just didn't understand his business, which bought life insurance policies from the dying and the elderly, profiting when they die.

A federal judge sided with the SEC, though, and in April placed Torchia's Woodstock-based empire of investment companies, subprime auto loan businesses and limited liability companies in the hands of a receiver – effectively shutting him down.

Guess, who hosts a "Dollars and Sense" show on Texas radio, has a firm called Texas First Financial, which according to the cease-and-desist order has been offering 9 percent annualized returns on unregistered securities, the Dallas newspaper said.

Texas also accused Guess of using up to $1.4 million of investors' money to pay a federal tax lien.

There's likely no love lost between Torchia and Guess, seeing as how Torchia sued him last year, alleging he and others convinced Credit Nation investors to invest $10 million in a Texas-based online marketing company called Stamedia Group, violating both Georgia’s Trade Secrets Act and non-compete clauses in their contracts.

But here's what Guess told Rush Limbaugh's listeners and loyal "ditto heads" about Credit Nation, in different times:

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