Fugitive businessman Stanton a no-show at Bankruptcy meeting
John Stanton, the fugitive Tampa-area businessman who once claimed a net worth of $269 million, failed to appear at a meeting of his bankruptcy creditors on Friday. Stanton was sentenced to six months in jail last month after he was found guilty of criminal contempt for failing to pay his ex-wife millions in alimony and child support. So far, Stanton has refused to turn himself in. Tampa police waited at the entrance of the federal building where the creditors' meeting was scheduled just in case he appeared. The meeting was continued until Feb. 8. If Stanton doesn't show up then, his bankruptcy case could be dismissed.
Duo convicted of mortgage fraud
A federal jury on Thursday convicted two Tampa men of 13 mortgage fraud charges after a two-week trial. William "Ondra" Joel, 32, and Maurice Vernon, 33, will be sentenced April 16 and face up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors say the pair defrauded 10 different lenders in 2006 by setting up a straw buyer to buy properties worth $1.8 million. The buyer, however, did not have the income to justify the loans and filed applications containing inflated income figures and other false information, prosecutors say. A loan processor who was in on the scheme and the buyer are cooperating with authorities.
Gasparilla all about kids today
It's a big day in Tampa for all those wee pirates. The Gasparilla Children's Extravaganza kicks off at 11 a.m. along Bayshore Boulevard with a bicycle and pedestrian safety rodeo. The preschooler's stroll for swashbucklers age 5 and under begins at 1:30 p.m. The main parade leaves Bay to Bay Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. at Watrous and Orleans avenues. At 6 p.m., the pirate ship Jose Gasparilla comes alive with a light and sound show. Be near DeSoto Avenue to catch the action. For event details, go to gasparillapiratefest.com.