Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas businessman charged with defrauding the Pentagon allowed to post bail

TAMPA — Thanks to his friends, a Pinellas businessman charged with selling fake computer chips for use in U.S. military planes, warships and missiles may get out of jail while his case is pending.

Shannon L. Wren, 42, of Treasure Island was allowed to post bail after three sets of friends, including his girlfriend's parents, agreed on Monday to guarantee $250,000 of his $350,000 bail by pledging real estate they own as security.

That means they could lose the property if Wren fails to show up for court hearings or his trial.

But they're not worried.

"I trust him 100 percent; he's a good friend," said Dennis Markwart, who is the father of Wren's girlfriend. "I think he's got a bad rap here for some reason. I don't know why."

In addition to the secured bail, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Jenkins also required Wren's parents to sign a $100,000 signature bond ensuring his presence in court. She also ordered that he wear an electronic monitor and banned him from working in the sale of integrated circuits while his case is pending.

Wren, who owns VisionTech Components in Clearwater, was indicted by a Washington, D.C., grand jury this month along with business manager Stephanie A. McCloskey, 38, of Clearwater on 10 counts that include conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods and mail fraud.

McCloskey is free on $25,000 bail.

At a hearing last week, Wren's attorney, Jeff Brown, told Jenkins that his client did not know the chips were potentially dangerous counterfeits from China. Rather, he said, Wren was a middleman who bought the chips from sources overseas and resold them in the United States.

Prosecutors have said the bogus chips may have compromised national security and put lives at risk, though Wren's indictment does not say they ever were installed on any military hardware.

Markwart doesn't buy any of it. Wren, he said, is "just too nice a guy to put anybody's life in danger."

Pinellas businessman charged with defrauding the Pentagon allowed to post bail 09/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2010 11:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017


    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.