MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan authorities deported a U.S. lawyer on Wednesday to face charges he participated in a $137 million fraud and money laundering scheme largely based in the Tampa Bay area.
Interior Minister Ana Morales said Lawrence Hartman was sent to Florida, where he was set to appear in court Thursday.
The 47-year-old lawyer, who prosecutors say once lived in the Tampa Bay area, was detained April 25 when he tried to get a Nicaraguan passport using a fraudulent birth certificate, Morales said.
Prosecutors say Hartman is one of seven people charged in federal court in Tampa with a scheme that bilked investors out of at least $137 million. Several companies they created to carry out the fraud, prosecutors said in 2009, were in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
Federal court papers allege the group hijacked names of more than 50 companies and sold bogus stock in them to investors in Britain and elsewhere.