TAMPA — Timothy Roberts, who once ran a fast-growing Ybor City-based cloud-computing company lauded by Tampa area officials and business leaders, faces federal prison time after admitting to an investment scam connected to the company.
Roberts, 46, now of Missouri, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office in Tampa. He faces up to 20 years in prison, the release adds.
Roberts founded and ran Savtira Corp. Inc. In a 2011 Business Observer story Roberts said Savtira, after eight years in development, was going to position itself as a “disruptive” player in the business-to-business marketplace.
But starting in or around November 2010, Roberts devised and carried out a scheme to defraud investors and obtain money and property by making false promises, authorities say.
In particular, Roberts and a co-defendant, Savtira CFO Terrance Taylor, told potential investors the company was worth between $450 million and $540 million “when, in fact, the company had little, if any, revenues,” the release states. Roberts and Taylor, officials contended, also made false statements to investors about the use of investor funds, some of which were diverted by the defendants for personal use.
Roberts also failed to disclose a prior judgment with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for violating securities laws.
Roberts and Taylor were previously indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. Taylor is currently set for trial in April. A sentencing date hasn't been set yet for Roberts.