Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Oldsmar man sentenced to prison for mortgage fraud in Tampa townhouse project

TAMPA — An Oldsmar businessman has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for mortgage fraud conspiracy.

Richard Cartagena, 44, who pleaded guilty in March, faced up to three years in prison for his role in the conspiracy that involved La Encantada Villas, a project with seven townhouses in historic Hyde Park.

Cartagena "attempted to correct his mistakes by being completely forthcoming with law enforcement" and helped authorities investigate others, according to a motion requesting a more lenient sentence.

Cartagena was managing member of La Encantada Villas LLC. From May 2007 through July 2008, he conspired with others to commit fraud in transactions involving at least four of the townhouses on Watrous Avenue, according to a plea agreement. He made more than $1 million, records show.

The townhomes were sold at prices from $600,000 to $900,000 and have since been foreclosed on, according to the U.S. Attorney. Misrepresentations and fraud with two of Cartagena's former homes in Oldsmar and Clearwater also were part of the conspiracy.

On March 5, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday sentenced Neil Ferrigno of Tampa, the minority partner in the development, to eight months in prison for conspiring to commit mortgage fraud. Two purchasers of townhomes were also sentenced.

The court ordered Cartagena and other defendants to pay $2.5 million in restitution to lenders.

Cartagena, who has lived in Tampa Bay for more than 20 years, founded the Palm Harbor telecommunications firm Nexxtworks Inc. He is also a business partner in the USA Flea Market in New Port Richey and served on the board of Tampa Bay Harvest, a nonprofit that gathers and distributes food to the needy.

Comments

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

1. Was editor of her high school newspaper, president of her 4-H club.2. Started stripping at age 17 in Baton Rouge, La.3. Made her first porn film with a girlfriend.4. Took her stage name from the Motley Crue bassist, who named his son Storm, and fr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

TAMPA — In the center of the nightclub, between the cigar case and bustling bar, a giant screen blankets the back wall. Usually, ads for drink specials and coming attractions scroll across.But Friday night, a life-size picture of President Donald Tru...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Updated: 11 hours ago
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Updated: 11 hours ago