Justin Bieber Endorsed Troubled Local Phone App Created by Convicted Felon

justinbieber.jpg
Photo by Flickr user jake.auzzie
Bieber's rosy image doesn't agree with the criminal record of PhoneGuard's president.
In May, Options Media Group Holdings Inc., a tiny Boca Raton tech company, scored a major endorsement: Justin Bieber came out in support of the company's app that shuts down phones while you're driving, preventing someone from texting behind the wheel. The app is called PhoneGuard, and Bieber was quoted in a news release in support of it and called texting and driving "tragic."

But the Pulp has learned that the company Bieber partnered with doesn't share his rosy public persona. The man who created the software has a criminal record that includes being part of a stolen-car ring, according to documents. And analysts have questioned the finances of Options Media, which had almost no money in the bank and a reported $10 million in losses.

Anthony Sasso, creator of PhoneGuard, said his racketeering conviction is in the past, and he downplayed his role in the car-theft ring. "I'm a convicted felon," he  said from the company's Boca office. "What else?"

AnthonySasso.JPG
Anthony Sasso from his BSO mugshot.
Sasso said he owned a home and car audio installation company in 2004 and was approached by a former customer who needed a bill of sale from a past purchase after his car had been stolen. "All of a sudden, the feds swoop in and say I'm part of this ring," Sasso said.

That account differs from the one told by a task force of investigators from around South Florida and the state of Indiana. Investigators who worked on "Operation Money Car" claim Sasso was part of a conspiracy to sell stolen and "insurance give-up" cars on used-car lots using bogus vehicle identification numbers and forged documents.

Sasso says his limited involvement in the case meant he was given just two years' probation while the others convicted in the deal received jail time. The detailed court records were not available from the Broward County courthouse.

As of Monday, Sasso was listed in PhoneGuard's annual report as the company's president, and a man who answered the phone at the company and identified himself as a spokesman confirmed that.

However, when Options Media CEO Scott Frohman learned from the Pulp on Monday about Sasso's criminal record, he said he asked Sasso to resign. Sasso will also no longer have voting rights as a stockholder and will have no relationship with the company, Frohman said.

"Anthony brought a lot to the table as far as being a visionary," Frohman said. "And as far as being a humanitarian, he's brought a lot to the world by seeing the problem with texting and driving."

In addition to Sasso's past, financial analysts have questioned whether Bieber teamed up with a company with little chance to succeed. Option Media's latest Securities and Exchange Commission report says the company had enough cash to survive 45 more days and a stock value of about 2 cents per share (the value has since risen to 3 1/2 cents per share).

Penny stocks blogger Timothy Sykes also questioned OPMG's ability to compete against other, better-funded apps that do the same thing. Worse, the company has only licensed the technology from another company. Sykes wrote: "I HAD to expose this joke of a company, to help the many thousands of bagholders who are too incompetent and illiterate to do this kind of research, inevitably putting their meager life savings into this 'Justin Bieber stock.'"

Bieber's publicist, Melissa Victor, didn't return an email and phone call to her New York office. In May, Options Media sent out a news release to announce the deal with Bieber that quoted the pop star as saying: "Every night we perform we have a banner that goes up that says 'Don't Text and Drive' so it really means a lot to me. We are planning to continue to give $1 from every ticket sold to this cause and the addition of PhoneGuard to this team will help us expand our efforts even further."

It's not clear if that $1 per ticket is going straight to PhoneGuard, but the company might need it.


Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.
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84 comments
Sam
Sam

This is where journalism is heading?  The guy is a convicted felon, whats your point?  Sounds like the convicted felon has hit a gold mine.  Your yellow copy did little to sway me and my opinion.  Fact is Im only associated by the pinks, I own a large amount of the company.  At .7 cents I reclaimed all my cash, now Im playing with house money.  I think a middle of the road report would be in order.  There is money to be made on this, many others recognize that fact, I wonder why you cant see past the trivial matters?  If 1 dollar from every show goes to Phoneguard and he does 6 shows in a quarter, ever wonder what those revenues would be?  I do.  If in fact they hit a winner and a video does indeed go viral, do you think that will have an impact on the company?  I certainly do.  There are indeed other apps out there just like Phoneguards app, maybe even better, but how many of them have JB bankrolling them?

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Janet Rao
Janet Rao

HMM, They say that Anthony Sasso Resigned. But he owns the corporation phoneguard, phoneguard1 and cellular spyware. Now cellular spyware has the right to sell this software and cellular spyware gave rights to phoneguard. i smell something fishy..

Citizen
Citizen

Are you kidding me?  How despicable.  The man served his time and has a great idea to save lives and he's forced to resigned and humiliated. Why?  Because of the Bieber involvement.  Who cares about Bieber except as a spokesperson to get teens to THINK before they get behind the wheel of a car and text.  I have kids, I hear the name.  Mine think his music sucks (I honestly don't know/care, boy bands are not my thing) but seriously.  Ya'll should be ashamed. 

plr store
plr store

wow, if you need an app to forcibly tell you to not use your phone while driving, then you deserve neither.

TivTee
TivTee

OK, so the dude has a criminal past, so what? He paid his dues to society and is now a productive, law abiding citizen. I dont see why it matters.

www.real-privacy.int.tc

Anthony
Anthony

Wow....  Can't Believe what i am reading...    :)

QWAZY34
QWAZY34

 HE  DIDNT CREATE THE SOFTWARE, IT'S DEVELOPERS ARE A COMPANY IN ASIA AND HE IS LICENSED TO RESELL IN AMERICA AND CANADA..  THERE IS A BETTER PRODUCT COMING OUT ALSO...

Anthony D
Anthony D

Hey Sasso, you should of looked a little deeper :)  

TheTruthBeTold
TheTruthBeTold

You were obviously interviewed for this article. You Tweeted it just as it came out, but you were long on the stock? Yeah, I am sure you held the stock as you were giving the interview for a news story disparaging it. Sell that somewhere else Sykes. I feel confident you shorted it, then tweeted it. Shame on you. Better hope no one looks into this.

SiteHacker
SiteHacker

You're a manipulating dipShiiiit. I promise you that you have just opened pandora's box.

Truth_Sayer
Truth_Sayer

How is anyone surprised at the shoddy reporting of an editor who can't keep a single writer on staff?

timothysykes
timothysykes

and I would love EVERYONE to look into this, i have a feeling all these lies are coming from paid promoters as we know Joe Noel and his gang of penny stock promoters have been paid here, my guess is more promoters too...this is why my being 100% transparent gives me an advantage over rotten thugs like u :)

timothysykes
timothysykes

I was "obviously interviewed for this article"? Hahaha nope, never talked with or met Eric in my life, I NEVER sent him my article or anything...just another guy researching this stock independently...this is getting more and more like SpongeTech every day, that company claimed The NY Post and I collaborated...which was untrue...bloggers link to other bloggers, deal with it...and yes, PS I was long OPMG last night as I didnt know about the felony or any negative press coming out...kinda busts your lies about my shorting the stock too? anything else or are u ready to say, damn, i was wrong :)

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Sykes brags at being such a great sleuth in exposing penny stock scams.  Doesn't say much for his ability to do DD when he couldn't even uncover this information on Sasso.  Way to go Tim.  Keep up the shabby work.

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Tim, why could Eric find this information so easily and you had no idea what was coming?  I thought you were the man with DD.  Makes me feel I should not invest in your website and alerts if this is the case.

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

anyway tim, it has been fun but remember there is always someone out there smarter than you, I look forward to the slam article tomorrow on opmg and hdy so I can short the heck out of those two and make some dough, take care PSYCHES

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

I wouldn't be so proud to be number 1 out of 60,000 idiots and illiterates, you said it yourself.  here let me give you another stock that will go up tomorrow HDY

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

what the hell is a promoter anyway, I told you I am eye doctor.  let me give you a stock that will go up tomorrow since you are afraid to give me one....the symbol is opmg

timothysykes
timothysykes

oh i have something to prove? hmmm, well covestor taps into my account, verifies all trades where i'm #1 out of 60,000+ traders, go look for yourself if you're competent, which frankly i'm doubting at this point and i verify my trades as do my subscribers on http://profit.ly oh man, why are promoters all the same? do they teach u to be this dumb or do u just not graduate high school? i'm probly talking with sasso right now LOL

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

you haven't proven a thing to me yet, anyone can put up a website and write what they bought during the day but there is no proof, keep living in your made up world and start to make some real money, you've probably drained your savings on material goods buy now anyway

timothysykes
timothysykes

ha i'm writing my watchlist as i have fun with u, as i said, i enjoy exposing the lies of promoters like u, this is my entertainment, thanks for being such a typical promoter! but no u dont get to see my research or video lessons unless u subscribe, sorry, too valuable

timothysykes
timothysykes

haha gotta pay $1k+ to hear me speak, we're on two verrrrry different levels, i'm a proven self-made millionaire, u're a comment troll promoter living in one of the worst cities in the US

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

what the heck are you talking about, you have just spent an hour or two of your precious harder working than anyone day talking to me who is a non-subscriber

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Well anyway Tim, i guess your packing for that trip, let me know if you come to Pittsburgh to speak, I will shell out the 20 or 30 bucks for a ticket and see what you have to say.  Go Tulane

timothysykes
timothysykes

dozens of stocks i dont have time to write research out on and yes i've now done 30 minutes worth of video lessons on OPMG, non-subscribers get nothing, u can believe me or not, i could care less, but i work for my subscribers who pay me, i have no time for non-subscribers, i just like rubbing it into promoters exposing your lies

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

and seriously, Prokhorov associates have used more than 2 million dollars or 2.5 to wipe their a.. that is nothing to them

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

who are you gonna talk to, a bunch of overweight vodka drinking dudes in a sauna?

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Tim, I make enough money that I don't need to trade.  Heck I can put it in a checking account at 0.1% for all i care.  Show me a stock you shorted without the use of bad press or some half hearted research attempt to slam the stock and make me a believer.  Better yet send me an email for one that will go up next week and lets see how you do.  Furthermore, when opmg takes off this week how are you going to explain your actions. 

timothysykes
timothysykes

PS i'm actually friends with one of Prokhorov associates, they're also a subscribe of mine and i'm not going there for a bride, i was paid your annual salary to come speak :)

timothysykes
timothysykes

LOL a doctor, no wonder why you're so ignorant, doctors are the worst investors/traders bar none...yes my fund lost 35% back in 2006/2007, but u somehow left out the $12k into $2 million feat and the fact that after 4 years my fund finished up 2% total with some very large lessons...and that over the past 4 years i've taken my thinkorswim account from $12k to nearly $200k, every single trade detailed, making me the #1 ranked trader out of 60,000+ on covestor...so "doctor" again i DARE you to find me another investor/trader with such transparency and superior returns...ive been attacked by dozens of promoters over the years, i can sniff your kind out

PS i got into teaching because my tv show was a hit and i saw the need to educate misinformed people thanks to the likes of people like u...u should be ashamed of yourself...and oh if u say u have a good track record, post it on http://profit.ly and lets see...otherwise leave the research and information business to those of who who can back up what we say

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

First off Tim, I am an eye doctor but hey I can survive on 5 hours of sleep so I will talk a little longer.  After a little research it looks like you got lucky there was an internet bubble so you made some ching. Next you lost about 35%.  Bet the investors were happy there.  OK after your name was mud you decided to try to teach idiots and illiterates how to trade which seems impossible, but you being a noble citizen of new york decided you would charge them for this elementary advice.  Anyway, good luck finding your internet bride in Russia. Give a big shout out to Mikhail Prokhorov for me if you know who that is.

timothysykes
timothysykes

7% on a conservative long-biased portfolio when the markets are down 5%+, cant win with u,s crew it, this is why u live in a crappy city and u have to go to work the next day while i'm a multi-millionaire about to go to russia for 2 weeks...i got there by my trading, hard work and teaching it to others, take it or leave it, i could care less promoter scum

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

come on Tim,  7%, a lot of the time the monkey picking stocks does better than that, once again your DD is in the hopper, Pittsburgh was just ranked as the most livable city in the US brother, but hey it would take someone that is a great researcher to realize that.  take care

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

I need to get up in 6 hours for work but i will check out your site tomorrow and see how its going. thanks for the time tonight, good luck and hey profit is profit

timothysykes
timothysykes

LOL try my penny stock millionaire newsletter, its mostly longs, its up 7% after 1.5 months...but no i don't take "challenges" from comment trolls, i have 1,000+ subscribers who watch me every day as i both buy and short and i've made $2.5+ million with my trading strategy so i think i'll be alright...PS Pittsburgh sucks, go do some research on me, and see why your comments are so laughable

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

no seriously I can understand if you don't reply to that but I would just like to see what you can do in a month without shorting.

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Now if this bieber stock goes up from here, since buying a penny stock on a dip is ignorant, then you fly me and Justin, or just me to wherever you live and buy me dinner at a restaurant of my choice.

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

I challenge you for 1 month to see if you can make any money without shorting a stock.  Put 20,000 in a separate account and see what you can do.  But remember the stock has to go up and not down.  If you are successful I will personally fly you to Pittsburgh and buy you dinner at a restaurant of your choice. 

timothysykes
timothysykes

well good luck finding someone as consistently profitable as me, go look at the http://profit.ly rankings, buying penny stocks on dips is ignorant and will fail most of the time...unless you're a promoter...thats why i buy breakouts, works time and again...and i short pumps which also works well

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Tim, seriously I am not a promoter, just would like to find someone that can consistently be successful with the market but not a big fan of shorting stocks.  Hey, I guess it works for some including you but I just don't respect it.  I would rather gain as the stock increases in value.

timothysykes
timothysykes

LOL go on, keep trying to discredit me, this is funny, today was my first losing days in a while, i suggest u look at all my trades http://www.timothysykes.com/ti... let me know how it looks to a promoter :)

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

See what I mean, I just looked at your profitly trades for today.  You bought inve thinking it would go up, it went down, you lost.  You bought esyl for a penny gain and a 13 dollar profit.  It appears to me that buying low and selling high is just not your thing but I will look further back than just today and see how you have done.

timothysykes
timothysykes

You comment like a promoter so lets just assume you are...I dare you to find ANYONE else who works or researches as hard as me, sometimes I miss something and I was actually long the stock, not short going into today, I'l have you remember that....and PS when I short, I dont short "on bad press", the pumps I expose tank whether or not I or anyone else shares our research, ignore it at your own risk.

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

Not a promoter Tim, just someone evaluating the quality of investors out there looking to find a successful one to sign up with.  I want someone that finds this crucial info on their own and not after the fact.  Show me an investor that buys in before a stock goes up and that is the one I will respect.  It is a lot harder to make money that way than to short on bad press.  That's fairly easy to do.

timothysykes
timothysykes

PS same as with spongetech, the ny post discovered 99% of sales were fake, i focus on stock promotion which directly affects the stock price, more than a felon as president, u think u're gonna lower my credibility, good luck, i've been doing this for a decade, you're just a sleazy promoter who belongs in hell

timothysykes
timothysykes

i'm not perfect but remember i only give so much information research-wise for free so while you're trying to bait me, you won't win because i am the only honest guy who works 18 hours/day in this niche...subscribe elsewhere, go for it, they all come back eventually :)

Jrkerrod
Jrkerrod

How could you not even investigate the president of the company. That is common sense to me but obviously not to you.  Geez Tim, wake up.  Go ahead and congratulate Eric again on his find but it should have been you.

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