TAMPA — John Edward Simpson, 64, of Tarpon Springs, pleaded guilty to a scam in which he tried to dupe investors into buying shares of a phony security system firm.
Simpson plead guilty to eight felony counts of grand theft, 12 felony counts of securities fraud, 12 felony counts of failing to register a security, and 12 felony counts of failing to register as a securities dealer, according to a statement from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The release didn't disclose how much money Simpson allegedly stole or attempted to steal.
Authorities say Simpson told at least 20 victim investors nationwide that his company, Defense Technology Corporation DTC LLC, had developed a security system to be manufactured and marketed to schools and universities in the United States. Simpson issued stock and promissory notes in DTC, officials alleged, but never established any revenue or customers. Contrary to representations, the majority of victims' money was not used to further the business, but instead was used to pay Simpson's “salary” and personal living expenses, authorities add.
Simpson perpetrated the scheme out of Safety Harbor, according to the statement.
“Protecting Floridians from financial fraud is our top priority. This scammer falsely promised a return on investment using a fake security system pitch to deceive victims,” OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear says in the release. “I am proud of our investigative team, which gathered evidence, conducted interviews and financial analyses to ensure that Floridians received a positive outcome in this case.”