Dunedin man gets 51-month sentence for $3.4 million pool company fraud

TAMPA — A Pinellas County man was sentenced Thursday to 51 months in federal prison for his role in a scam that defrauded a swimming pool supply company out of more than $3.4 million.

Jack Randolph Shaw of Dunedin and a co-conspirator must repay that amount to Blue Hawaiian Products, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled.

Shaw pleaded guilty in July to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return.

"Since the beginning, Mr. Shaw has regretted what he did and, although he can't go back and unring the bell, he certainly has endeavored for at least three years now to mitigate the offense and the circumstances and to try to make the victim whole," said Latour "L.T." Lafferty, Shaw's defense attorney.

Prosecutors said Shaw and Joseph Christopher Hooker, bookkeeper and office manager at Blue Hawaiian Products in Largo, worked together in the scheme that lasted from 2001 through 2006.

Blue Hawaiian Products manufactured and sold swimming pool shells. Shaw and Hooker created a sham company called Blue Hawaiian Pools and Supplies and began diverting checks intended for the real company into the fake company's bank account, according to court records. As customer checks came to Blue Hawaiian Products, Hooker sent them to Shaw.

The men skimmed off some of the money and sent Blue Hawaiian Products lesser amounts, prosecutors said.

The government charged Shaw with filing a false tax return when he failed in 2005 to report income from the fraud. This month, Hooker pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and four counts of making a false statement on a tax return. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Dunedin man gets 51-month sentence for $3.4 million pool company fraud 10/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:11pm]

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