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With $100,000, restitution begins in securities swindle
Two Canadian men still owe $204,000 to 25 Floridians.
By JOSE CARDENAS, Times Staff Writer
Published December 1, 2007
Two Canadian men paid $100,000 in court Friday as a down payment on the restitution they owe to 25 Floridians swindled in an unregistered securities scam.
Richard Western and David Teitelbaum originally faced 50 felony counts of organized fraud and selling unregistered securities.
But statewide prosecutor Harold Bennett allowed them to plead guilty Friday to one count of selling an unregistered security and dropped the remaining charges.
By then, Western, 51, had already submitted a $75,000 check. Teitelbaum, 59, added $25,000.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone sentenced Western and Teitelbaum to 12 and 15 years of probation, respectively.
Together, they must pay $204,000 more in restitution.
Bulone asked four victims who came to the hearing whether they agreed with the plea agreement and the punishment.
The four nodded and later walked away with checks as partial payment.
"As with most ... economic crimes," said attorney Frank Louderback, who represented Teitelbaum, "the victims are more interested in getting paid" than with incarcerating perpetrators who wouldn't be able to earn the money to repay them.
The two men sold the securities between 1994 and 1997, mainly to baby boomers in Pinellas, Pasco and other central Florida counties, Bennett said in court.
Western owned Oxford Capital Management Ltd. in Canada. Teitelbaum approached investors here.
Western and Teitelbaum asked people to invest in equipment such as canoes, which Western leased out to other companies or organizations.
Investors got a promissory note. The investors, who were to make their money from revenue produced by the leases, received interest payments initially.
But the checks eventually began to bounce. Most investors saw no return.