Appeals court upholds convictions in Petro America case
KANSAS CITY (AP) - A federal appeals court ruling has upheld the convictions of five top leaders in a Kansas City-based company that bilked mostly poor investors out of millions of dollars with promises of vast wealth in exchange for investments of as little as $100.
A three-judge 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Wednesday found no reason to overturn the May 2013 convictions of Isreal Owen Hawkins, Teresa Brown, Johnny Heurung, William Miller and Martin Roper.
All were involved in a company founded by Hawkins, Petro America Corp., a purported oil and mining operation that Hawkins claimed to be worth $284 billion but the government insisted had zero value.
The five were accused of selling $7.2 million worth of unregistered stock and targeting poor investors who weren't qualified to purchase shares.