ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg man was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to wire fraud earlier this year.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Thomas Coelho, 53, will spend the next 10 years in prison for defrauding over $1.8 million from investors. Court documents said Coelho presented himself to investors as a lawyer and Ivy League business school graduate and used connections in the entertainment industry to make it appear as though he had access to high-profile events.
Coelho told investors he would use their money to buy tickets and sell them again at a higher price, but court documents show that he instead spent the money on personal expenses, entertainment and cash withdrawals. Coelho created fake documents, including wire transfer receipts, to further the lie that that the funds were handled properly.
Over the course of the scheme, Coelho defrauded three victims out of over $1.8 million.
At the time of his arrest, Coelho had previously been arrested 15 times on fraud-related charges with three outstanding warrants and several civil injunctions, mostly from failed business ventures. Those warrants dated back 20 years under his former name, Thomas Jurewitz.