A St. Petersburg man with a history of fraud and larceny was indicted by the federal government — which is seeking a judgment of more than $1.8 million — on Friday.
Thomas Coelho, 52, also known as Thomas Jurewicz, was indicted on two counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
From 2016 to 2019, Coelho recruited investors for a business that bought event tickets and sold them to a third party for profit. Coelho used his association with people in the entertainment industry to give him credibility, according to the indictment.
He made the investors a promise for massive returns. He provided them with false financial documents to convince them to invest more. But instead of using their money for the business, Coelho used the money for his personal expenses, including cash withdrawals, according to the indictment.
Coelho made about $1,874,174 from the fraudulent business, according to the federal government.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count.
In 2009, Coelho was arrested on a charge of scheming to defraud after selling Super Bowl tickets worth $115,000 on behalf of a Tampa woman. The checks he wrote her bounced, she said at the time.
When a St. Petersburg Police Department detective started looking into Coelho, he found similar stories in his past.
He had promised a comedy club in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, and was convicted for larceny there. There was a civil suit against him in Massachusetts and old arrest warrants out of California for larceny and grand theft.
“He admits he got the tickets, he admits he sold the tickets, he admits he gave her rubber checks,” St. Petersburg police detective Randy Adams said in 2009. “But it’s the same thing. He always says, ‘It’s a big misunderstanding. Nothing happened here.’”