Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Bay lawyer gets 10 years for international investment scheme

TAMPA — A Tampa Bay area lawyer who helped perpetrate a multimillion-dollar investment fraud has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Lawrence S. Hartman was the last of several defendants to be sentenced in the case, which began in 2009. He pleaded guilty in November before U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and was sentenced Tuesday.

Hartman, 48, helped orchestrate a scheme involving the sale of worthless stock in defunct corporations to investors.

Paul Robert Gunter of Odessa and Simon Andrew Odoni, originally from the United Kingdom, led a team that hijacked the identities of 54 publicly traded companies and sold bogus stocks to mostly retired and semi-retired investors in Ireland and the United Kingdom, prosecutors said.

Victims received unsolicited phone calls from people offering to sell shares in companies with little to no risk, "almost guaranteed to increase significantly," court documents said.

Authorities said the calls appeared to be made from "boiler rooms" based in Spain, which were linked to Gunter after investigators reviewed his laptop and computer software.

The victim investors wired more than $127 million to Gunter's bank accounts, which Hartman and others used for their enrichment, prosecutors said.

Hartman was arrested and deported from Nicaragua in May.

In addition to his prison sentence, Hartman was ordered to forfeit his interest in his residence in Costa Rica, a parcel of land in Pasco County, several offshore entities, several foreign and domestic bank accounts, a 2009 Jaguar XKR and a 2010 Genesis LX150ST‑3, three luxury watches and more than $129,500 from the sale of a condominium. The court also imposed a judgment of $42.5 million.

Gunter and Odoni were convicted of multiple criminal offenses last year following a 19‑day jury trial. In July, Gunter was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. Odoni was sentenced to 13 years and three months.

Comments
Man gets life sentence in Freedom High student’s 2015 shooting death

Man gets life sentence in Freedom High student’s 2015 shooting death

TAMPA — After David Brunson murdered an 18-year-old Freedom High School senior, he told a witness the victim was "just some ghetto kid nobody will miss."But people do miss Eion Gustitis.More than two years after Gustitis was shot in the head in a rem...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

High school students from around the Tampa Bay area are participating in the National School Walkout today commemorating the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and calling for gun law reform.A large group of students from St. Petersburg High g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

OCALA — One student shot another in the ankle at a Florida high school and the suspected shooter is in custody, authorities said Friday.The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shooting happened Friday morning at Forest High School, which...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Goodman: In America, truth is missing in action

It’s "Mueller Time," as the nation grows ever closer to a confrontation with the truth.Was collusion with the Russians an illusion? If not, who was involved, what was done, and when? Did it impact the 2016 campaign, the fate of Hillary Clinton and no...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

The man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life has ties to the Tampa Bay area.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell — who was found dead outside ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties; man gets life sentence in Freedom High student’s 2015 shooting death; and more

Top 5 at noon: Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties; man gets life sentence in Freedom High student’s 2015 shooting death; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:SUSPECT IN GILCHRIST DEPUTIES’ SLAYINGS HAS TAMPA BAY TIESThe man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways. In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall f...
Updated: 1 hour ago