Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg website designer pleads guilty to grand theft

A St. Petersburg website designer with a penchant for $200 bottles of wine, Lexus cars and Armani clothes pleaded guilty Tuesday to three felony counts of grand theft from clients.

John Paul Heintz, 67, received eight years of probation and must repay almost $90,000 to three victims — a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he received from doctors, lawyers, business owners and friends. All told, Heintz's dealings involved millions, for which he rewarded himself with pricey homes in Illinois, Michigan and Florida.

Tuesday's conviction follows a related case that resulted in a jury finding Heintz not guilty of defrauding St. Petersburg businessman William Nelms of $25,000 in a purported investment deal.

Several people hurt by Heintz's schemes said they are glad to finally see a conviction because they believe it will help prevent others from falling prey to a man they once trusted.

"This is really good news," said Dr. Scott Plantz, who lost $59,000 to Heintz and rallied others to file complaints against the man. "I thank the three investigators who prosecuted this case. It's hard to get them to prosecute these kinds of white-collar crimes."

Part of the problem is that consumers who contract for work must show the contractor intended to defraud them. When a contractor performs at least some of the work — as Heintz often did under business names Dalmoworks and Coastal Datalink Corp. — it becomes a question of whether it was fraud or simply shoddy work.

Shoddy work is a civil matter. But if a contractor does not intend to deliver what is promised, he might face criminal charges.

Heintz always maintained that he was simply misunderstood.

"Mr. Heintz has in the past six or seven years had literally hundreds who were satisfied with his work," said his lawyer Daniel J. Fernandez.

But in an in-depth story in 2008 on Heintz's businesses and background, the Tampa Bay Times detailed his questionable dealings.

Some of those who claimed they were hurt by Heintz in those dealings will never see restitution for what they say they lost.

Pam and Don Angerhofer, whose daughter Carissa studied horseback riding with Heintz's daughter, lost their $400,000 retirement in an investment plan Heintz pitched but never developed.

Authorities said the statute of limitations had expired to prosecute the Angerhofers' case.

On Tuesday, Pam Angerhofer, of Western Springs, Ill., said she simply wants her onetime family friend to realize how his schemes have hurt people.

"I just want him to stop," she said. "I want him to a be a decent human being."

Pinellas Circuit Court Judge Chris Helinger ordered Heintz to begin repaying money he owes within a week. Heintz must pay $2,500 of the $10,000 he owes Greg and Dava Baez.

The couple hired Heintz to build them a website that never functioned the way he promised.

"We honestly didn't think we would ever see the money," Greg Baez said. "A lot of people tried to make it out to be a he-said, she-said. We're happy he had to plead guilty."

The judge asked Heintz where he would get the $2,500 to pay Greg and Dava Baez by next week.

Heintz responded: "From a friend."

"Who's the friend?" Helinger asked.

"Van Williams," Heintz said — a neighbor who sued Heintz in the past for delivering a worthless check for $44,000 on a previous loan.

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Comments

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Thurs., May 24, midday:173952098e_SRit83991Thurs., May 24, evening:146065414e_SRit29962Mega MillionsToda...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Newborn baby found abandoned in north Tampa

Deputies: Newborn baby found abandoned in north Tampa

TAMPA — Someone abandoned a newborn baby in the University area on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.A passerby found the baby near the intersection of N 18th Street and E 143rd Avenue at about 5:30 p.m., deputies said.T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

ST. PETERSBURG — An Eckerd College student who was critically injured last weekend during an accidental fall on campus shortly before she was to graduate died today, the school announced.Rebecca Ryan "Becca" Lavin-Burgher would have graduated with a ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Toddler injured in Bayshore racing incident has died

Police: Toddler injured in Bayshore racing incident has died

TAMPA — The 21-month-old toddler who was critically injured Wednesday when she and her mother were struck by a car racing on Bayshore Boulevard has died.The child, Lillia Raubenolt, was pronounced dead at the hospital on Thursday, police said.PREVIOU...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bayshore race claims two lives: child dies day after mother’s death

Bayshore race claims two lives: child dies day after mother’s death

TAMPA — Jessica Raubenolt seized on the sunshine and blue sky at midday Wednesday to take her daughter out in the stroller for a walk along scenic Bayshore Boulevard. Visiting from Ohio, the family had been cursed by rain all week.At the same time, C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

TAMPA — City officials announced Thursday they are reducing the speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, one day after a mother and her 21-month-old daughter were struck and fatally injured by a speeding car as they crossed the street.Starting today , city...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: the National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday that requires players to stand during the national anthem or become subject to their team being ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

In the Caribbean, a storm is brewing that could wash out Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a holiday that draws people outside. It was created to honor those who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces and also marks the unofficial start of summer.This year, though, the family cookouts, beach excursions and roa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 2 hours ago