Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No jail time for former appeals Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. in bank fraud

Former 2nd District Court of Appeal Judge Thomas Stringer Sr. leaves the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse in Tampa on Friday with his wife, Lillian, after his bank fraud sentencing.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Former 2nd District Court of Appeal Judge Thomas Stringer Sr. leaves the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse in Tampa on Friday with his wife, Lillian, after his bank fraud sentencing.

TAMPA — Saying Thomas E. Stringer Sr. has already endured the public humiliation of losing his judgeship and law license, a federal judge on Friday ordered him to spend one year under supervision and to pay a $250 fine for bank fraud.

Stringer, a former appeals judge, admitted in August that he lied on a loan application for a Hawaiian residence he bought with a stripper.

"You are to be commended for admitting your guilt," U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich said. "I know that was a tough thing to do, but it was the right thing to do."

Kovachevich sentenced 65-year-old Stringer to time served, noting his lack of a criminal record. The former appeals judge only spent as much time in federal custody as it took to be processed and released on the charge.

He must complete 150 hours of community service. He also must forfeit the $222,362 profit he got from selling the Hawaii house.

Sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of zero to six months. The U.S. Attorney's Office did not seek prison time, in part because the crime had nothing to do with Stringer's public office.

"It was very much a private matter," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill said. "Do I think Judge Stringer would ever commit another crime? No, your honor, I don't."

Stringer faced a maximum million-dollar fine. At $250, the minimum fine, he will pay less than a person convicted of driving drunk.

After more than 30 years of distinguished service as a lawyer and judge, Stringer resigned from the 2nd District Court of Appeal in February under a cloud of questions about his financial dealings.

The state Judicial Qualifications Commission had accused him of taking unreported gifts from 49-year-old Christy Yamanaka, a stripper he befriended about 15 years ago, and helping hide her assets from creditors. She could not be reached for comment Friday.

In July, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Stringer with fraudulently obtaining a $350,000 mortgage for the residence. On a loan application in 2004, he claimed that none of the money used for the down payment was borrowed, when in fact he had gotten the cash from someone else.

Last month, the Florida Supreme Court disbarred him for five years.

Defense attorney John Lauro argued that Stringer should be judged by the sum of his life rather than a single mistake. In a document submitted before the hearing, Lauro pointed out that his client's long record of service included helping the indigent, serving as a mentor to young people and working with his alma mater, Stetson University College of Law, to improve the legal profession.

Stringer was Stetson's first black law school graduate and Hillsborough County's first black circuit judge. Appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in February 1999, he heard cases from 14 counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.

"Mr. Stringer's false statement on a mortgage application represents an aberration from a life of integrity and selfless service in the community," Lauro wrote. "His actions in no way involved a misuse of his judicial position, nor did they result in a financial loss to anyone."

The former judge's supporters in court Friday included his wife Lillian Stringer, who serves as director of public relations for the Tampa Housing Authority.

Thomas Stringer apologized to her, his children, colleagues and law school. He said it pained him to think about the damage he had wrought on their reputations.

He also took note of his personal ruin.

"I destroyed a career," he said, "that I worked hard to attain and that I truly loved."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

No jail time for former appeals Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. in bank fraud 11/13/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.