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. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery

    Ml

    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Busted: How a Times photographer captured Donald Trump's fake news

    Blogs

    Tampa Bay Times photojournalist Scott Keeler was on assignment last summer for a story about Donald Trump’s presence in Palm Beach, a tale of glamour and conflict. Along the way he inadvertently captured evidence of a …

    Near the main entrance at Mar-a-Lago, the fake Time magazine cover is on display in July 2016.
  5. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a hockey game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]