Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Feds reveal charges for Belleair businessman who eluded authorities for months

ORLANDO — Once among Tampa Bay's business elite, John Dargan Stanton III siphoned at least $15 million from the Seffner building supplies company he headed and created a fraudulent trail of documents to thwart the IRS, a federal indictment unsealed Monday said.

Stanton, 63, of Belleair, captured at an Orlando hotel Friday after nearly 10 months on the run, was indicted on eight federal charges — one count of obstructing the IRS and seven of failing to file personal and corporate income tax returns from 2005 to 2007.

A federal grand jury in Tampa handed up the indictment Aug. 15, but it was sealed until Stanton's arrest.

Stanton, looking tired but calm, appeared Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge for a first appearance in Orlando federal court dressed in a worn blue Orange County Jail jumpsuit with his legs shackled.

He showed no expression as U.S. Magistrate Judge Karla Spaulding read the charges against him. The judge ordered Stanton held without bail and he is expected to be quickly transferred to Tampa, where he will be tried.

Stanton whispered to his attorney, Paul DeCailly, but otherwise did not speak at the hearing.

DeCailly said he would eventually ask a federal judge in Tampa for a hearing to determine if Stanton should be released on bail pending trial. But Stanton was sentenced in absentia to six months in jail by a Hillsborough County judge for failing to pay his former wife millions in support, so bail seems unlikely.

Prosecutor Carlos Perez-Irizarry said Stanton has been in the Orlando area since May. "He has been harbored by some associates and friends," Perez said.

He said Stanton's girlfriend, who was not identified, had registered the room at the Fairfield Inn where Stanton was arrested.

Stanton is the former president of the building supplies company Cast-Crete Inc., which at one point earned $1 million a week at the height of the Florida building boom in 2006. He once claimed a net worth of $269 million, but said he was broke during an acrimonious divorce finalized in July 2011.

His ex-wife, Susan Stanton, said Stanton had hidden his wealth in a complex web of companies to avoid paying support. By the terms of a marital settlement, he owes his ex-wife more than $10 million.

In 2006 and 2007, the indictment said, Stanton wrote $15  million in checks off a Cast-Crete account to Denouement Strategies, a company he controlled. The money was above and beyond his Cast-Crete salary, prosecutors said. The indictment also said Stanton wrote $11.8 million in checks to an individual identified as R.W.H.

That is an apparent reference to Ralph W. Hughes, the founder of Cast-Crete who died of a heart attack in 2008 at age 77.

Hughes also was at the heart of a controversy involving state Sen. Jim Norman, whose wife in 2006 received a $500,000 loan from Hughes to purchase a home in Arkansas while Norman was a Hillsborough County commissioner. A federal investigation into the deal ended without charges.

The indictment unsealed Monday said Stanton created two fraudulent promissory notes falsely indicating the payments by Cast-Crete were interest on loans provided to the company. The documents indicated Denouement loaned $241 million to Cast-Crete, while R.W.H. provided $261 million.

Federal prosecutors said the notes were dated June 9, 2008, less than a month before Hughes' death. But Stanton then backdated the documents to Sept. 30, 2003, the indictment said.

Stanton then directed an unidentified person to file IRS documents on his behalf that falsely indicated the payments to Denouement and R.W.H. were interest on those loans, the indictment said.

Those tax filings indicated Denouement received a total of $25.3 million in "interest" payments, while R.W.H. got $25.3 million, from 2006 to 2008.

The indictment did not explain why the "interest" payments reflected in these tax documents differ from the money paid by checks to Denouement and R.W.H.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3432.

Feds reveal charges for Belleair businessman who eluded authorities for months 09/10/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 11:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Girl says her mom asked for forgiveness before stabbing her

    Crime

    ATLANTA — Everyone was asleep when Isabel Martinez began stabbing her children and then fatally stabbed her husband as he tried seek help, her daughter told a child welfare caseworker.

    In a  July 7 file photo, Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance, in Lawrenceville , Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. [AP Photo/John Bazemore, File]
  2. McCain says 'I'll be back soon' as he battles brain cancer

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Battling brain cancer, Sen. John McCain on Thursday promised to return to work, making a good-natured dig at his Republican and Democratic colleagues who were jolted by news of the six-term lawmaker's diagnosis.

    Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor after a blood clot was removed. [Associated Press]
  3. Fire on neighbor's porch leads to charges against Holiday man

    Crime

    HOLIDAY — A Holiday man was arrested Wednesday after authorities say he torched the front porch of his neighbor, who he insisted was holding his daughter hostage.

    Dan Fry, 63, of Holiday was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree arson. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  4. Port Richey man solicited sex from 13-year-old, Pasco authorities say

    Crime

    PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday after Pasco County authorities say he solicited sex from a 13-year-old boy on the gay male dating app Grindr.

    Shawn Daly, 43, of Port Richey was charged with solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]