The parents of an Ashland teen who invented a product known as the Doodle Bra have been charged with misusing money people invested in the company.
Randolph Harry Segal, 47, and Betty Ann Segal, 30, of Ashland each face several felony charges related to securities fraud and theft. Their daughter, Rachel Segal, has not been charged.
The Medford Mail Tribune published three stories about the teen and her bra business between March 2009 and April of this year, including one when Rachel, who was 18 at the time, appeared on the ABC television show "The View" in a November segment about young entrepreneurs.
The Doodle Bra is a plain, white, cotton bra that comes with erasable markers and stencils that can be used to create unique decorations on the bra.
Medford police began investigating the Segals in September after the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities notified police that Doodle Bra did not have a business license and was not registered as a corporation, said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen.
In the course of the investigation, police found five investors who had paid a total of $30,000 to buy stock in Doodle Bra, Hansen said. The investors contacted the Oregon Department of Justice in November and December after they said the Segals failed to produce any stock certificates, and the Justice Department passed the information on to Medford police investigators, Hansen said.
The couple allegedly promised investors receipt of shares and dividends on Doodle Bra's profits. Instead, police say, the couple used investors' funds for daily living expenses and trips to Hawaii, New York and Las Vegas.
Police released the couple Wednesday after citing them on three counts of sale of securities by an unlicensed person, three counts of selling an unregistered security, three counts of securities fraud and two counts of aggravated theft. They were scheduled to appear before a grand jury Friday, Hansen said. Each felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.
In March, the Segals contacted the Mail Tribune to report they had struck a deal with Gabriel Cavazos of CavCon Industries of Michigan, Inc. to market the bra and possibly find department stores or online vendors to sell it. The bra had been sold exclusively online at www.doodlebra.com. It's unclear what became of that business agreement. Cavazos did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for an interview. The Segals also did not return phone calls requesting an interview.
At least one would-be customer also reported issues with the business.
Jo Hebert, a resident of Brandon, Miss., said she ordered a bra at the Doodle Bra website in May and never received it.
"I had done it as a little joke for my friend who was turning 40," said Hebert. "The debit did clear, and the website was up and working. I would try to track the order, and the website would say it was pending. When I called the customer service line, I couldn't get ahold of a real person."
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.