July 23, 2018

Former Hart Galleries owners going to prison in Ponzi scheme

 July 13, 2012


Article Excerpts:

A Harris County judge on Friday ordered Jerry and Wynonne Hart, the former owners of the prestigious Galleria-area auction house Hart Galleries, to begin serving 14-year prison sentences for a $4 million Ponzi scheme, the couple’s attorneys said.

…More than three years after they pleaded guilty, a judge executed the mandate for the 2009 sentence during a court hearing Friday morning and took the Harts into custody, Hart and his 64-year-old wife, Wynonne, pleaded guilty in April 2009 to stealing more than $200,000, a first-degree felony.

…In exchange for the guilty plea, Stroud dropped other charges of theft and money laundering.

…Both sides agreed to let state District Judge Randy Roll decide the punishment.

…Attorneys for the couple argued they should be given probation and sent the judge 160 letters from prominent Houstonians asking for leniency.

…Instead, Roll called the couple “thieves” and said they were running a classic Ponzi scheme.   They were using the newest customer’s money to pay off the oldest customer, he said before sentencing both to 14 years in prison.

…Three months later, with a new set of lawyers, the couple were granted a new trial.  The Harris County District Attorney’s Office fought that ruling through the appeals courts, finally winning late last month and quashing the possibility of a new trial.

Texas Judge and Wife Excape Arson Charges – Again

August 30, 2009


Article Excerpts:

The fire burned their house down completely and caused damages to two of their neighbors’ homes as well.  It was the second time in ten years that a suspicious fire burned down their home, both times starting in the garage.

Judge Questions Decision to Quash Indictments of Texas Supreme Court Justice and Wife; Criticizes Actions of Prosecutors as Premature and Careless

January 23, 2008


Article Excerpts:

While state Judge Jim Wallace agreed to the prosecutor’s demand to toss out the indictments, he strongly criticized both the decision and the competence of the prosecutors — voicing obvious questions over why prosecutors would seek an indictment over months only to quash those indictments when they are handed down by a grand jury.

Juror in Medina case speaks out again


January 20, 2008

[Terry Yates referencing grand jury and case]:  “It was predetermined in the sense that there was not sufficient evidence that Judge Medina did anything wrong and for them to indict, this case anyway, it just shows they had an agenda.”

Article Excerpts:

“I love grand juries. I think they do a tremendous job. They have a tremendous function in the system,” said Yates. “It was predetermined in the sense that there was not sufficient evidence that Judge Medina did anything wrong and for them to indict, this case anyway, it just shows they had an agenda.”

Ryan writes the following:

“Comments like yours serve only to impugn the integrity of the twelve citizens of Harris County who have given up considerable amounts of their time to ensure justice is done.”

“These are not twelve hicks from Mayberry USA who just rode into town on the turnip wagon.”

Medina attorney asks judge to sanction 2 grand jurors


Jauary 18, 2008

Article Excerpts:

[Referencing an earlier Medina quote] He said mortgage insurance paid off his note after the fire. Yates did not respond to requests for more information about the insurance claim.

Typically, if a borrower fails to insure a home, the lender will take out its own “forced place” insurance policy that covers only its interest and not any owner equity, contents or liability.