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Feds indict Pearlman agent for fraud

TAMPA — An insurance agent who helped imprisoned music mogul Lou Pearlman raise money has been indicted on fraud charges accusing him of selling up to $32 million in unregistered securities in the Tampa Bay area, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

Steven B. Rodd, 45, of Tampa, and William P. Kress targeted 250 people in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties as they solicited supposed investments in Pearlman's company, Trans Continental Airlines, federal prosecutors say.

Prosecutors, who said the investment was a fraud, said the pair targeted the elderly. And investors were not told that Rodd had been barred by the state of Florida from selling securities in 1998 and again in 2003, the indictment says.

Rodd was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to sell unregistered securities and mail fraud. If convicted, he faces 25 years in prison. The government also is seeking the seizure of $936,500 for illegal commissions Rodd received in the scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Kress pleaded guilty to fraud charges last August and is awaiting sentencing.

Pearlman was sentenced in 2008 to 25 years in prison after he admitted stealing $300 million from investors and banks in a scheme that operated for more than two decades.

Investors were devastated when Pearlman's empire collapsed in January 2007. He fled the country, and investors gradually discovered their money was gone.

But Pearlman was captured in Indonesia after a German tourist saw him at a resort and contacted the St. Petersburg Times, which passed the information to the FBI.

Rodd's attorney did not return a message Wednesday seeking comment.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3432.

Feds indict Pearlman agent for fraud 02/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:37pm]
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