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ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES CHARGES IN RADIO STATION SCHEME

 ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES CHARGES IN RADIO STATION SCHEME
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine investors lost


$118,000 they believed would be used to purchase a Christian- broadcasting radio station in Cambria County under a scheme masterminded by the owner of WPLW Christian radio in Pittsburgh, Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. charged today.
 A criminal complaint totalling 32 counts was filed today against Robert K. Hickling, 65, of 1 Grandview Avenue, in the Mt. Washington section of Pittsburgh. Hickling is the owner of Hickling Broadcast, Inc., which operates WPLW based in Crafton.
 According to the complaint, the investors believed they were purchasing shares in a holding company that would acquire WAJE Radio in Ebensburg, Cambria County. Seven individuals each contributed $10,000 while one couple invested $48,000.
 The victims allegedly were all approached in 1984 by Richard A. Shoop, now deceased, but then an account executive for Hickling Broadcasting. Shoop told the investors they were purchasing shares in Cambria County Christian Communications (CCCC) which would acquire the Christian radio station in Ebensburg.
 When each investor gave their money to CCCC, the complaint alleges, Shoop provided them with a "promissory note" detailing the terms of the investment, the amount of interest to be paid and the maturing date of the investment.
 The Office of Attorney General initiated its investigation after a referral from the Pennsylvania Securities Commission.
 According to the complaint, filed today before District Magistrate Dennis Joyce of Crafton, Cambria County Christian Communications was legally incorporated but none of the monies solicited by Shoop and Hickling was actually used to purchase WAJE in Ebensburg.
 The complaint alleges that Hickling continued to collect and accept money from investors, even though he knew he was not going to purchase WAJE.
 About $90,000 of the proceeds from the investors was instead diverted to WPLW in Pittsburgh, the complaint alleges, while the rest was used personally by Hickling.
 From 1984 through 1990, Hickling allegedly sent various letters to the investors stating that he was attempting to sell the radio station and divide the proceeds among the investors. The complaint charges that this reinforced each investor's belief that Hickling had indeed purchased WAJE, when, in fact, he had not.
 Hickling is charged with 16 felony counts, eight of theft by deception and eight of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. Each of those counts carries a maximum jail term of seven years and a fine of up to $15,000.
 He also faces 16 misdemeanor counts of violating the Pennsylvania Securities Act. Each of those carries a maximum five-year jail term and a fine of up to $5,000.
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Albert J. Neri of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or, home, 717-234-6112/ CO: Office of Attorney General ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK -- PH032 -- 0618 01/16/92 14:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 16, 1992
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