>the compiler is actually giving an error though -- "invalid operands to binary *"
The compiler is actually right. Multiplication for pointers is nonsensical. Why don't you tell us what you're trying to do and we can tell you how to go about it, because you clearly need someone to protect you from yourself.
For Each ctrl As Control In Me.Controls("pnlMainPanel").Controls
If ctrl.GetType Is GetType(System.Windows.Forms.Panel) Then
For Each subCtrl As Control In ctrl.Controls
If subCtrl.GetType Is GetType(System.Windows.Forms.TextBox) Then
If subCtrl.GetType Is ...