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St. Petersburg Man Pleads Guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud Charge

Jon Jerald Hammill of St. Petersburg pleaded guilty in a Tampa federal court earlier this month to bankruptcy fraud. According to court documents, Hammill failed to disclose any investment or employment with a company named Botfly, LLC when he filed for bankruptcy in 2009. It was also alleged that he had Botfly income re-directed to a shell corporation to conceal that income from the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy trustee and creditors.

According to prosecutors, Hammill invested $35,000 in a forex (foreign currency) trading venture named Botfly, LLC between late summer 2007 and summer 2008. The investment promised to pay him 10% per month, compounded monthly. In November 2008 (and continuing through April 2010), Hammill worked for Botfly, where he was paid to handle paperwork, payments and disbursements, maintain client contact, and promote Botfly to new investors. Investors were notified that he was their point of contact for Botfly.

Hammill also allegedly signed Botfly promissory notes as Botfly's authorized representative. For his work, Hammill received a salary of $10,000 per month plus up to 10% of the principal invested by any new investors he brought in.

Trouble arose when Hammill filed for bankruptcy in February 2009. The government claims that Hammill failed to disclose his investment, salary or commissions from Botfly in his bankruptcy petition and during the meeting of creditors. It is also alleged that Hammill arranged for his payments from Botfly to be directed to his nominee shell company, Jon J. Hammill, P.A., in order to conceal his income.

Hammill and his company received about $1.5 million from Botfly before and after the bankruptcy petition was filed, according to a press statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. Hammill faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His former business partner in the Botfly enterprise pleaded guilty to mail fraud earlier this summer after investors claimed the company was running a Ponzi scheme.

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