Crime & Courts
Apollo Beach man sentenced nearly 10 years for investment fraud
TAMPA - An Apollo Beach man was sentenced to nearly 10 years in federal prison for his role in gold-investment scam that netted nearly $4 million. Terry Vernon Koontz, 56, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, according to the U.S. State Attorney’s Office. Koontz was ordered to spend nine years, seven months in prison. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $3.77 million, the proceeds of the scheme, as well as a $50,000 cashier’s check traced to the fraud.According to court documents, Koontz was the primary architect of the scheme, which took place from about December 2010 to November 2011. To facilitate the scheme, Koontz and his co-conspirators used an unincorporated Tampa entity called CK&K, U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill said in a news release. According to court documents, Koontz and his co-conspirators used “fraudulent representations, pretenses and promises” to solicit investors to wire funds into CK&K accounts. Most of the victims resided outside of Florida, the news release said. As the fraudulent program grew, Koontz and his co-conspirators organized and hosted live presentations, conducted via conference call, to solicit more prospective victims, court records show. At times, Koontz falsely posed as a satisfied investor and gave a testimonial touting the success of the program, court records showed. Co-conspirator John Henley Fowler, 64, of Fort Myers, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison in January for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. At the same time, Jeffrey Robert Fowler, 35, of Fort Myers, was sentenced to 37 months on a similar charge.