A man from Plano, Texas, has now been sentenced to 17 and a half years of jail time in a federal prison due to his fake Disney scam. Thomas W. Lucas, Jr., swindled millions of dollars from investors after convincing them that the Walt Disney Company was actually building a new park in Texas. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that Disney park is fake and doesn’t exist.
According to NBCDFW, Lucas, 35, was convicted back in February of seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
Lucas had convinced investors into believing he had inside and private information about a secret Walt Disney theme park and resort project that was being built in North Texas. There is no project, and it has all turned out to be fake.
Between the years of 2006 to 2010, Lucas came up with his fake Disney theme park plan and defrauded 280 investors out of around $20 million. Out of that large sum of money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office states that Lucas ended up keeping around $450,000 of that money.
Lucas showed his investors some documents for a project called “Frontier Disney Dallas-Fort Worth.” The documents included fake site plans, forged signed sketches, and a number of maps. He promised investors that the land would be turned for a profit after Disney officially made an announcement on the new theme park.
As Yahoo Finance reported, Lucas is not only getting 17 and a half years of jail time, but he has been ordered to pay over $8.4 million in restitution.
Disney has firmly denied any plans on a theme park being built in North Texas. Prosecutors have said that Lucas told his investors that he actually had a secret source within Disney who first gave him information about the new Texas park.
Once he was caught, the identity of Lucas’ source was different depending on who he talked to. The FBI finally questioned Lucas, and he placed blame on a man he met at a methadone clinic in the past, but that man is now deceased.
Lucas brought in the investors, partners, and other companies to begin buying up land in North Texas. The value of the land purchased was subtracted by the court to determine the approximate money loss, and it came in around $20 million.
Sixty-five investors ended up losing all of their invested money, which was about $8 million handed over to purchase land. They also received no interest.
Upon sentencing, Thomas W. Lucas, Jr., was handed over to the U.S. Marshals and taken away to serve his sentence. He attempted to make people think that Walt Disney World and Disneyland would get a sister park domestically, but it is not in the plans at this time at all.
[Image via Danny Cox]