Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow Sentenced to Statutory Maximum Prison Term for Money Laundering Conviction


HOUSTON—Convicted money launderer Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow, 68, formerly of Galveston County, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge David Hittner to 10 years in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution to his victims, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and acting United States Marshal Elizabeth Saenz.

Indicted in 2003 for fraud and money laundering which centered on misrepresentations made in connection with the purchase and sale of stock, Ballow pleaded guilty before Judge Hittner to money laundering in November 2003 and faced a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. At the time, Ballow, who had been in custody without bond for approximately a year, agreed to cooperate with a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation and was released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing on Dec. 16, 2004. However, Ballow fled the country. A warrant for Ballow’s arrest was issued the following day, Dec. 17, 2004.

After more than six years on the run, Ballow was arrested by Mexican authorities on July 13, 2010, in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, on a provisional warrant requested by the Southern District of Texas. Ballow was extradited by Mexico to the United States on April 8, 2011.

Judge Hittner sentenced Ballow this morning to the maximum statutory prison term for the offense of conviction and further ordered him to pay restitution to the victims of his fraudulent stock scheme in the amount of $10,483,769.81. Ballow has been in custody without bond since his extradition from Mexico and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

Ballow is also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and failure to appear for his sentencing pending in a separate indictment returned by a Houston grand jury in 2010 (cause number 4:10-494-S). Those charges are pending and Ballow is presumed innocent of these charges unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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