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Hillsborough deputies confirm body found beneath concrete slab in Plant City is that of Polk lottery winner

PLANT CITY — Deputies confirmed Friday that the human remains found behind a home on State Road 60 are those of missing Lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office determined his identity through fingerprints. The cause of death is not yet known, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

After three days of searching, authorities found the remains under a 30-foot by 30-foot concrete slab behind a home at 5802 State Road 60 E.

Property records show the site is owned by Shar Krasniqi, reported by Polk authorities to be the boyfriend of Dorice "DeeDee" Moore of Lakeland, a person of interest in Shakespeare's disappearance.

Moore rents the home to attorney Howard Stitzel for use as an office, said Stitzel's attorney, Glen Lansky.

Stitzel, who previously worked out of an office in downtown Plant City, has had dealings with both Moore and Shakespeare, records show.

In January 2009, Stitzel assisted in the transfer of several mortgages from Shakespeare to American Medical Professionals PEO, a company that Moore started in late 2007, according to state records.

The company's mailing address is listed as 9340 Redhawk Bend Drive, which is in the Lakeland area. Shakespeare bought that home for about $1 million in 2007 and sold it to American Medical Professionals for $655,000 in 2009, Polk County records show.

Lansky said Stitzel has cooperated with law enforcement officials and will continue to do so.

"He's not involved in any way with any wrongdoing," Lansky said.

Stitzel did not return phone calls, but he said in a Dec. 9 interview with a Times reporter, "I have no idea what's going on. I think (Shakespeare is) alive. That's all I'm going to tell you."

No arrests have been made, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the lead agency in this investigation, has not named any suspects.

Polk deputies labeled Moore as a "person of interest" on Jan. 6, and they have outlined some of her dealings with Shakespeare:

• Moore began using Shakespeare's cell phone in April to text his relatives and friends in an effort to have them believe it was Shakespeare attempting to contact them.

• Moore offered to give away a home worth about $200,000 in exchange for making a false report to law enforcement about Shakespeare's whereabouts.

• Moore paid one of Shakespeare's relatives $5,000 to hand-deliver a birthday card containing cash to Shakespeare's mother, suggesting that the card was from her son.

• Moore told detectives she bought Shakespeare's house for $655,000 and then purchased debt owed to him worth $185,000. She said these were cash transactions, but there is no indication she paid for them.

• In February, Moore helped Shakespeare open a limited liability corporation, "Abraham Shakespeare LLC," and then gave herself complete signing authority. With that authority, she gave herself $1,000,000. She has used this money to buy a Hummer, a Corvette and a truck, and she has taken lavish vacations.

About two weeks ago, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, "DeeDee Moore has cheated Abraham Shakespeare out of his money, and possibly his life."

Phone calls to Moore were not returned.

This is not the first time Moore has been linked with suspected theft. Jeffrey and Kimberly Potwin of Zephyrhills told police that in 2006, Moore helped them set up their business and kept a $60,000 check that was supposed to be deposited into the company's payroll.

In 2007, Moore told police she was given the money, and the case was closed because there wasn't enough proof.

A secretary for Bartow lawyer Rusty Franklin, who has represented Moore for several weeks, said Friday that Franklin no longer represents Moore. She said the office had no further comment, but the Lakeland Ledger reported that Franklin gave this statement:

"After careful consideration of my ethical obligation and for reasons that may be disclosed in the future, DeeDee Moore and I have mutually agreed that I will no longer represent her," Franklin said.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Hillsborough deputies confirm body found beneath concrete slab in Plant City is that of Polk lottery winner 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 11:56pm]
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