Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trinity man sentenced to 20 months in prison for investment fraud

The unusual business career of Pasco resident Dennis Dale Cole ended Thursday when a federal judge sentenced him to 20 months in prison for his part in a $1.5 million investment scheme.

Cole, 60, a Trinity resident and former attorney with offices in Clearwater, pleaded guilty in 2006 to a single charge of conspiracy to defraud for helping swindle at least 17 victims, many of whom are in Missouri, where Cole was sentenced.

Cole was accused of promising illusionary $1 million returns on an initial investment of $50,000.

Cole faced up to 20 years in prison on the charge. But his Largo attorney, John Trevena, successfully argued for a departure from sentencing guidelines because of Cole's cooperation in several other criminal cases.

He must surrender by July 9 to begin serving his term, which will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Cole's biography is as interesting as it is mysterious.

He is the former law partner of FBI deputy director John Pistole and once had a business associate who was a con artist impersonating an NFL player.

In 1988, Cole purchased a century-old chain of small hardware stores in Kentucky and was bankrupt in a year.

And Cole was a business associate of Canadian minister Brian Anderson, who was arrested in Spain two years ago and charged with a separate $14 million scheme to defraud investors. Anderson had pleaded guilty to a fraud charge and awaits sentencing in New York.

The oddity about Anderson is that he was a business associate of Abdul Tawala ibn ali Alishtari, nicknamed "the Sheik," who is charged in Manhattan with trying to finance a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

Cole is not linked to Alishtari. But Cole has cooperated in the fraud case against Anderson, prosecutors say. Prosecutors declined to provide details Thursday because they said the information is classified.

Cole, who attended Yale University and is the son of ministers, has never been licensed to practice law in Florida.

That didn't stop him from claiming millions in legal fees he said he was owed by the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Kyiv Patriarchate" in a 2003 Pinellas lawsuit Cole filed.

Cole claimed he worked a deal to deposit $500 million in church donations in a bank, though the church later disavowed any such deal and got a Pinellas judge to throw out a faulty judgment Cole had obtained.

Trinity man sentenced to 20 months in prison for investment fraud 05/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

    Bucs

    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Epilogue: Tony Scaglione served Ybor delicacies and laughs

    Obituaries

    Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.

    Tony Scaglione - the longtime owner of Tony's Ybor Restaurant - has died.  He was 87. Credit: Larry Scaglione
  4. What you need to know for Friday, July 21

    News

    href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during minicamp this summer. He said the Bucs could be "a bad--- football team." [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp

    Roads

    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they …