Federal court prosecutors have issued new information regarding the securities fraud allegations made against an ex-Tiki Island resident and nine of his accomplices. Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow faces charges related to a seven-year multimillion-dollar stock sale scam.
Ballow, 67, was indicted in 2003 for alleged money laundering and fraud. He pleaded guilty to the money laundering charge, agreed to cooperate with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and was released on $100,000 bond. However, he didn’t show up for his sentencing hearing and left the country. An arrest warrant was issued in 2004.
As a fugitive, Barrow is accused of using numerous aliases, including the names Tom Brown, John Gel, Marty Twinley, and Melvyn John Gelsthorpe. He allegedly used these names to control the following publicly traded companies: Medra, E-SOL International, Aztec Technology Partners (known as Ultimate Lifestyles), and Deep Earth Resources. He was living in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico on 2008 but disappeared the following year after allegedly persuading an investor to transfer $5 million to one of his companies. Mexican federal police finally arrested him at his home in Puerto Vallarta last July.
Also charged with wire fraud are Ballow’s wife Robin Harless Ballow, ex-Houston residents Ruben Garza Perez and Kelly Lyn Boothe, Austin, Texas attorney Patrick Lanier, Jeffrey Janssen Anuth, and five others. According to authorities, the defendants allegedly sold stock shares in the companies that Ballow acquired and controlled while he was a fugitive. They also are accused of concealing Ballow’s real name when they sold the stock to investors, issuing false information to raise and maintain stocks’ value, and not taking away the restrictions that kept investors from selling the stock and land ownership interests in a real estate development that never became a reality.