Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man who ran Ponzi scheme in Pasco County gets 20 years


Man who ran Ponzi scheme gets 20 years

David Lewalski, who operated an investment company that authorities said was actually a $30 million Ponzi scheme, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud. He also was ordered to forfeit $29.8 million, numerous computers and computer equipment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Lewalski, 48, ran Botfly LLC from an office in Bayonet Point. The company promised returns of up to 10 percent a month in the foreign currency market. But in reality, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Botfly was an investment fraud scheme that raised about $30 million from 500 investors but used only about $2.6 million for trading — most of which was lost. Lewalski also spent millions on personal luxuries including high-end real estate, private jet travel, luxury automobiles, computer equipment and jewelry. Last year, the Florida Attorney General's Office sued Lewalski and partner Jon J. Hammill of St. Petersburg to shut Botfly down, freeze its assets and return investors' money. Investors are now submitting claims to the receiver.


Police ID body found in home

Authorities have identified the 44-year-old man whose body was found Monday evening in a vacant home. Samuel Martinez Pratts died in a home at 7440 U.S. 19, where officers found the scene "suspicious in nature," according to New Port Richey police. Pratts' last known address was 7740 Pinehurst Drive in Spring Hill. Police have not released a cause of death but said the man had suffered trauma to his body. Pratts' death is being investigated as a homicide. Anyone with information about the case may call the New Port Richey Police Department at (727) 841-4553 and ask for Detective Chris Mellecker or Detective Mike Anderson.

'City of Angels' auditions coming

Richey Suncoast Theatre will hold auditions for City of Angels, a musical comedy, at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5 at the theater, 6237 Grand Blvd. The production needs five men and three women; singing and dancing will be required. For more information, call the box office at (727) 842-6777.


Expressions, the Dance Company, is putting on the Dec. 16 production of The Nutcracker at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge. Tickets may be purchased by calling (727) 505-6211. A listing on Friday's Diversions page had incorrect information about the name of the dance company and the phone number for buying tickets.

Note to readers:

For the latest crime listings, visit and click under "Weekly crime report."

Man who ran Ponzi scheme in Pasco County gets 20 years 11/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2011 8:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1.   Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  5. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.