Texan with $30M fraud history gets federal prison

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Associated Press

Posted on March 29, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 29 at 8:02 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A repeat fraud offender who owed nearly $30 million in restitution at the time of a Texas securities scam must serve nearly 20 years in prison.

A federal judge in Houston on Thursday also ordered 65-year-old Richard Plato of Baytown to pay $3 million in restitution. Jurors last fall convicted Plato of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and five counts of mail fraud.

Prosecutors say Plato owned Momentum Production Corp. in Baytown and diverted about $2 million in company funds. Texas regulators began investigating Plato in 2008 amid complaints from oil and gas investors.

Plato earlier was convicted of fraud in Texas, Florida and Louisiana. Investigators say he was on supervised release and owed nearly $30 million in restitution when the unregistered Momentum securities were sold.

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