TAMPA — The owner of a local company, USCJO Inc., was indicted this week on 30 charges of wire fraud and on one charge of making a false statement accusing him of defrauding three investors in his company of $3.2 million.
William A. Vasden Jr., 36, of Tampa claimed his company grew energy-producing crops in Florida. He solicited money from investors by falsely saying he was a fourth-generation farmer whose family owned thousands of acres of land around the state and investors in USCJO could double or quadruple their money, according to the indictment.
Vasden told investors he already had customers lined up to buy crops that included citrus (processed into citrus chips), prosecutors say, which could be used as bio-fuels or as fuel at energy plants.
Vasden also applied for a federal clean-energy grant using false information, though he ultimately did not get the grant, the indictment said.