A New Twist on an Old Theme If anyone ever calls out of the blue with an offer of "unlimited profit potential," you should always slam down the phone.
If the investment has to do with the 1 900 telephone industry, and the offer is to become a general gascan oakley sunglasses partner, slam it down extra hard. Dozens of Californians are getting offers to become general partners in an outfit called Link 900, which is somehow involved in the 1 900 industry. All they have to do is hand over $10,000, and they'll be getting what calls "an investment opportunity which is far superior to any investment offered before." Traub is president of, which identifies itself as "a national management company specializing in the operations and management of the pay per call industry." People selling Link 900 aren't registered brokers. When asked how they can possibly sell an investment, and not be a registered broker, they reply that they're merely selling general partnerships and that general partnerships aren't covered by securities laws. (Then they quickly get off the phone.) What most investors don't realize is that in recent years especially, in the telecommunications industry scamsters have switched to selling general partnerships to get around securities laws. Here's the rub: General partners are supposed round oakley sunglasses to run the business, and in a number of scams "people being put into general partnerships have no ability to run a oakley xx high tech company," says, enforcement chief for the of Corporations. , who heads enforcement activities for the SEC's San Francisco office, adds that merely labeling an investment as a general partnership "doesn't necessarily take it out of the jurisdiction of federal securities laws. It depends on the amount of control the investor can realistically exercise over management oakley ducati of the enterprise. If you invest money for a profit in a common venture with others dependent on the efforts of a third party that's a security." In the case of Link 900, Merging Capital says it will "play a large role" in the beginning stages of the investment, as well as supplying the company with administrative support. In other words, it'll help run the thing. If this is such a good deal, why are Link 900's promoters going out of their way to skirt securities laws? Probably for the same reason Traub didn't return several of my phone calls. HIGH YIELDS A Recent item here mentioned that you can get sharply higher yields on CDs and money market accounts from banks outside of California. But a number of readers said they faced some problems locking in yields and actually transferring the money to the out of state banks in a timely manner. If you're going to go the out of state route, what should you do? According to Bob Heady, who publishes the Bank Rate Monitor in North Palm Beach, Fla. (800 327 7717), there are several tried and true steps you'll need to follow: First (of course), call the bank; many have toll free numbers. Then, ask for the person who supervises personal accounts. Some institutions have a national desk just for out of town customers. They'll want to know how much you have to invest, and which account you're interested in. Ask for the latest interest rate and the annual percentage yield. These numbers can change every day, so make sure you have the latest quote. Then ask when your interest earnings will begin, and how long you can wait before you can withdraw money. (Remember, it takes several days for an out of town check to clear.) Then ask for an account form. When it arrives, make a copy of all documents especially the signature card, which is proof of ownership in the unlikely case the bank fails. If you're opening the account by mail, Heady says you should only make your check payable to the institution not an individual, and endorse it "for deposit only." If you're opening it by wire, first find out how much the transaction will cost. Tobacco road: A few weeks ago Concord based Beverages More installed a few cigar humidors and started selling more than 220 brands of cigars at its Walnut Creek store. "We thought if the cigars did 1 percent of sales, they'd be doing well," says President. "If they did 2 percent, we'd be happy." Reality: They're doing 5 percent so well that the cigars are being expanded to the company's other five stores. Boone says the company, which sells wine, liquor and specialty foods, looked closely at the cigar business before entering it and traveled the country reviewing cigar operations. With the exception of one operation in Minneapolis, "we saw speciality beverage stores and cigar stores, but nothing that had both of them," Boone says. While the cigarette business may be getting snuffed out, he says that cigar sales have been rising at an annual rate of 30 percent per year for the past four or five years. In keeping with the theme, Boone says that Beverages More has built a separate "cigar room" where it stocks cigars "and some of the world's greatest whiskeys and ports. Employees are encouraged at the end of the day to sit back, light up a cigar "and pour yourself a single malt scotch. Cachet, not cache: Stop already, and blame it on my editor. An item the other day on Oakley sunglasses said they could lose their "cache" a word inserted by a well intended editor. Quite a few readers, such as, have written in pointing out the obvious that cache means stash, and cachet means prestige and, "Catchy well, never mind," Evelyn says.
Oops: Friday's item on Todd AO mentioned that the company bought Skywalker Sound "in San Rafael" from film producer. Actually, it bought Skywalker Sound South, in Los Angeles. Skywalker Sound North is still owned by LucasDigital on Skywalker Ranch in Nicasio.
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