A conservative pundit who regularly appeared on outlets like Fox News, Fox Business, and CNBC used his cable news appearances to defraud investors, according to a government investigation.
The News Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sanctioned Todd Schoenberger after he admitted defrauding four investors of “a total of $130,000 after he told them he would invest it in a hedge fund that had $65 million under management.” In reality, “the SEC said, his purported Onshore Fund was a limited partnership that never had any assets to its name. Schoenberger, it said, spent some of the funds investors gave him on a new house and living expenses.”
The SEC stated in an order that “Schoenberger has been a frequent investment and stock market guest commentator on national cable television business news programs. He also served as an occasional business news columnist for a national newspaper and national news website. In soliciting investors, Schoenberger touted his appearances on cable news programs to bolster his credibility with investors, create around himself an aura of success, and entice investments in his scheme” (emphasis added).
Indeed, Schoenberger has made countless appearances on various cable news networks as a financial analyst:
- A search of FoxBusiness.com's video archives returns dozens of appearances by Schoenberg over the years. He most recently appeared on Money with Melissa Francis on May 15.
- A search of CNBC.com returns dozens of appearances by Schoenberg over the years. He was recently quoted by CNBC.com in a May 14 article.
- Schoenberger made numerous appearances on CNN between April 2012 and August 2013, according to a Nexis search. His last appearance appears to have been on August 27, 2013.
- Schoenberger wrote five pieces for FoxBusiness.com between November 2013 and December 2014. He wrote three pieces for CNBC.com in November and December 2014.
- In 2012, Schoenberger uploaded a nearly four minute “media reel showcasing some recent appearances of Todd M. Schoenberger on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox News-Live.”
Schoenberger frequently appeared on Fox News' weekend business programing, where he pushed conservative platitudes about the economy.
In an October 2011 Bulls & Bears appearance, for example, Schoenberger claimed that innovators like Apple cofounder Steve Jobs grew up poor and without government assistance and “were hungry. In America people are not hungry anymore because the government is subsidizing them. That's the problem.”
During an appearance after President Obama's reelection, Schoenberger complained that “Big government is not the answer. We went through this for the past four years.” During a July 7, 2012, Bulls & Bears appearance, Schoenberger said “there is no scientific proof of any of this global warming right now.” In a September 3, 2011, Bulls & Bears appearance, he claimed: “You've got to eliminate this minimum wage” because it “kills the job growth in this economy. You have to get rid of it because it increases unit labor costs.”
Schoenberger was briefly a radio host for a conservative Delaware station, until the SEC sanction took place. Rehoboth Beach's WGMD announced on May 20 that it hired Schoenberger to host a daily afternoon program that started on June 1, and hailed his “background as a frequent guest and expert on major national networks, such as FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.” Walt Palmer, Director of Broadcast Operations, Engineering and Programming, told Media Matters in an email today that “Schoenberger is no longer with the company.”
Media Matters has documented how financial news networks are littered with financial pundits involved in questionable dealings. Most prominently is perhaps Charles Payne, who hosts a Fox Business program despite having promoted dubious penny stocks and been fined by the SEC.