KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A jury has convicted the founder of a Kansas City, Mo., company and four of his associates of cheating investors by selling millions of dollars of worthless stock and spending the money on themselves.
Petro America Corp. founder Isreal Owen Hawkins was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy, securities fraud, aggravated currency structuring and other charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charge.
Hawkins' co-defendants were each convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, which could get each up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors say Hawkins and his associates sold $7.2 million in Petro America stock from 2008 through 2010, at an initial rate of $100 per 100,000 shares. They told investors the stock would sell for $24 per share when the company eventually went public.