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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2018 1 week ago

Crab scam nets charges for area man

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Hillsborough County resident allegedly bilked investors out of $800,000.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Office of Financial Regulation has arrested Robert Lee Humphrey Jr., a Hillsborough County resident, on charges related to his alleged role in a crab fishery investment scam.

According to a press release, he is charged with organized fraud, securities fraud, grand theft, sale of a security by an unregistered dealer and sale of an unregistered security.  

Humphrey, the release states, allegedly sold investments in High Cotton Bahamas LLC, a supposed stone crab fishing company, to at least 12 mostly elderly victims. He purportedly solicited victims while operating as a karaoke disc jockey in Tampa Bay area bars and restaurants.

Humphrey’s alleged victims believed that they were guaranteed a return of 1 to 10% on their investment. They were also led to believe that their investments were secured by real property in the Bahamas. Humphrey is accused of using victims’ money, which amounted to about $800,000, to fund his personal lifestyle.

“The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is committed to working with our state and federal partners to bring financial criminals to justice,” states Interim Commissioner Pamela Epting in the release. “I encourage all Floridians who suspect questionable financial business practices to file a complaint online at www.flofr.com or by calling 850-487-9687.”  

This case is being prosecuted by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.

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