Nicaragua extradites US man in $137M fraud case

AP News
Posted: May 15, 2013 8:28 PM

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaraguan authorities deported a U.S. man on Wednesday to face fraud and money laundering charges in his home country.

Interior Minister Ana Morales said Lawrence Hartman was sent to Florida, where he was expected to appear in court Thursday.

The 47-year-old lawyer was detained April 25 when he tried to get a Nicaraguan passport using a fraudulent birth certificate, Morales said.

U.S. prosecutors say Hartman is one of seven people charged in Tampa, Florida, with operating an investment fraud scheme that bilked investors out of at least $137 million.

Federal court papers allege the group hijacked names of more than 50 companies and sold bogus stock in them to investors in Britain and elsewhere.

Hartman was not the scheme's leader, but was key in creating the structure for the promotion and sale of the fake stocks and transmission of worthless stock certificates to investors, the documents say.

Three people convicted in the case earlier this year are scheduled to be sentenced in July. Two others charged separately were also convicted and sent to prison last year.