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    Man indicted in plane scheme

    The Oldsmar resident, who had previously been involved in several bay area sports ventures, took in nearly $300,000 from investors in a fraudulent travel operation, authorities say.

    By RICHARD DANIELSON

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


    OLDSMAR -- A federal grand jury has indicted an Oldsmar man on charges that he defrauded investors out of $297,500 in a travel scheme by claiming that he owned a fleet of charter airplanes in Palm Harbor.

    Charles P. Yancy, 50, faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of one count of wire fraud.

    In a four-page indictment unsealed Thursday, prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa say that Yancy was president of All Star Air Travel Inc., which was based in Oldsmar.

    From January to August 1996, Yancy falsely told investors that by putting money into his fleet of charter planes, they "were participating in an air travel investment program from which they would receive great returns," the indictment said.

    Instead, prosecutors allege, Yancy converted the money to his own use.

    Authorities also allege that Yancy used several "lulling" techniques to reassure skittish investors.

    When they asked about their money or All Star Air Travel, Yancy faxed them correspondence that he had created or traveled out of state to meet with them in person and reassure them that "everything was satisfactory with their investments," according to the indictment.

    State corporate records show that All Star Air Travel dissolved in 1997.

    Yancy, who was not taken into custody Thursday, could not be reached.

    His attorney, Robert R. Hearn of Tampa, declined to comment on the charges.

    In addition to All Star Air Travel, Yancy was involved in several sports-related ventures in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    In July 1990, Yancy announced the formation of the North American Spring Football League, which he said would revive the Tampa Bay Bandits football team of the mid 1980s and play a spring season that would not compete with the NFL.

    The league was dissolved the next year, according to state records.

    Yancy also was executive vice president and part owner of the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the short-lived Senior Professional Baseball Association.

    He told the Times in 1990 that he planned to sell his 12 percent interest in the team after it decided not to move from St. Petersburg to Dunedin.

    - Times staff writer Larry Dougherty and researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Richard Danielson can be reached at (727) 445-4194 or danielson@sptimes.com.

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