Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 or (727) 892-2332.

St. Petersburg website designer pleads guilty to grand theft 06/26/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 7:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Estimated 5,000 people marvel at MOSI over solar eclipse

    Human Interest

    Packing pinhole cereal box viewers, cardboard glasses and curiosity, solar gawkers gathered outside Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry on Monday for a show that required no ticket.

    At center, Sophia Butter, 8, and Kristina Butera, both of Valrico, watch the sun through eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. MOSI will reopen after renovations on November 18. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  3. Tampa officer treated for knee injury after police truck, police SUV collide


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A Tampa police officer was treated and released for a knee injury when his unmarked police truck collided with a patrol SUV while the officers were tracking a stolen car, a police spokesman said.

  4. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed


    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.