Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scheme's idiocy spares Tampa man prison time

His scheme's utter stupidity may have saved Cleland Ayison from a lengthy prison sentence.

The Tampa resident stood before a federal judge Monday in Fort Lauderdale for sentencing on a charge that he tried to pass a counterfeit $500 million U.S. Treasury note dating to the 1930s. He faced more than three years in prison.

Ayison, 32, flew to Palm Beach County in September 2010 for a bizarre business deal. Court records show that he hooked up with a person who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent asking where he could cash in large U.S. Treasury notes.

The scheme was rather complex. The bottom line was that Ayison would earn $1.1 million after the note was placed on the books of a South Florida business, records show. But it was all an elaborate FBI sting. No company or individual appears to have lost any money to Ayison.

U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitrouleas decided he just couldn't impose a harsh prison term on such a harebrained plot.

According to a story Tuesday by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the judge thought the seriousness of the charge against Ayison was diminished by the fact the scheme was built on a half-billion-dollar note. Such notes have never existed, prosecutors said.

"It becomes almost laughable," the Sun-Sentinel quoted the judge as saying. "To me, it doesn't promote respect for the law to send someone to prison … for doing something so silly and outrageous."

So the judge sentenced Ayison to six months' house arrest, five years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service.

Ayison also was ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam.

Scheme's idiocy spares Tampa man prison time 12/05/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 10:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.