Malibu entrepreneur investigated for criminal fraud

The former Malibu resident allegedly defrauded many Malibu and Los Angeles area resident and businesses. Several have won judgments against Peter Frommer, who was arrested in Aspen, Colo. last month for allegedly writing bad checks in that state.

By Melonie Magruder / Special to The Malibu Times

A bench warrant was issued last week for former Malibu resident Peter Frommer when he failed to appear for a debtor’s examination in connection with a judgment against him following a lawsuit filed by Elite Aviation LLC, one of apparently dozens of civil lawsuits filed against the self-styled entrepreneur.

Frommer is also facing 11 counts of fraud in Aspen, Colo. where he moved to in December from Malibu, according to the stories in the Aspen Daily News and other papers. He was arrested there in early February and later released on a $27,500 bond. According to reports, Frommer allegedly wrote approximately $50,000 worth of bad checks to various Aspen businesses, including a hotel, a baby-sitting service and a lingerie boutique. Aside from numerous civil complaints lodged against him, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reported to be also investigating Frommer for criminal fraud.

Judge Stanley Weisberg of the L.A. Superior Court issued a bench warrant for Frommer when he failed to show up at the Van Nuys Courthouse last week for the debtor’s examination.

In a letter to the judge, Frommer, 31, said he was “snowed-in” at his new residence in Aspen and was unable to travel to California for the fiscal examination.

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Frommer promised to be present at a March 14 exam time, but he first had to answer to another judge in Pitkin County, Colo. at a district court hearing scheduled for Monday.

“This is Frommer’s MO,” said Peggy McGinn, a Los Angeles area resident who has first-hand experience with Frommer. “When he finally has to answer for his sins, he delays, obstructs and runs away. Maybe it’s finally all catching up with him.”

McGinn and her husband, Darcy, filed one of at least 18 civil complaints against Frommer in Los Angeles County alone.

“We were able to collect,” she said.

Frommer’s Malibu property with his wife, Elizabeth, was foreclosed upon in January.

Malibu businessman Scott Tallal, who owns several local companies, won a judgment against Frommer for work he performed for one of Frommer’s businesses.

“He looked like a Wall Street wiz kid who had done well in hedge funds,” Tallal said. “A lot of us were taken in by his business claims and his list of supposed assets.”

“Peter’s approach to any investor was generally that he would return 20 percent or more,” Peggy said.

Tallal and the McGinns said that Frommer seemed legitimate because of lavish parties that he would throw at his Malibu home where he would fly in potential investors, pointing out that his other properties were “right next” to that of celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

One local attorney, who had represented one of Frommer’s investors and who asked not to be named, corroborated the McGinns’ description of Frommer’s business methods.

“Frommer’s proposals looked great on paper-brilliant,” he said.

The former Malibu resident is listed as CEO of the Tangeo Corp., a wireless Internet company. The company Web site states that Frommer joined the company in 2005.

For his part, Frommer said that any real estate problems are due to the vagaries of the market, and that any bad checks were the result of confusion over multiple bank accounts, according to reports in the Aspen Daily News.

As to how people became involved with Frommer, Darcy McGinn said: “He’s the nicest guy you’d ever meet. He could stand in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane and be perfectly calm, assuring you that everything will be OK.”

“You know that guy Frank Abagnale in the [Steven Spielberg-directed] movie “Catch Me If You Can”?” Peggy McGinn asked. “Peter Frommer makes him look like a penny-ante thief. He’s very, very smooth.”

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