Jurors to Resume Deliberations in Mo. Fraud Trial
KANSAS CITY - Jurors in a trial involving a Kansas City company whose leaders are accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars were slated to continue deliberations midway through the trial's fourth week.
Isreal Owen Hawkins and four others are accused of selling unregistered Petro America Corp. stock to unqualified investors for a company they claimed had assets worth $284 billion, but which prosecutors claim was worthless.
Hawkins, of Kansas City, Kan., said in closing arguments Tuesday that his company is real and is in trouble only because the federal government wants to destroy it.
Federal prosecutors ridiculed Hawkins' contention that he was able to build what would be the nation's second-largest company in only a few years with the help of four co-defendants who were jobless when they started promoting Petro America.