About 350 individuals or investor groups swallowed the false claims that “Disney Texas” was coming soon hook, line, and sinker. Thomas Lucas, a 35-year-old from Plano, received 17 1/2 years in federal prison from Judge Amos Mazzant this week.
The Judge commented that he decided to sentence Lucas on the top side of the sentencing guidelines. He did so because Lucas “caused a lot of damage to a lot of people.” He said the defendant showed “no remorse whatsoever.”
Starting in 2006, Lucas used faked maps and plans to show potential investors the long-range development plans for “Disney Texas” on land just east of Lake Ray Roberts, according to the Daily Mail. The proposed development stretched from US Hwy 380 on the south end, with boundaries along State Hwy 289 to the east, and US Hwy 377 on the west. The fake plans included the towns of Pilot Point, Tioga, Collinsville, Celina, Gunter, and Dorchester. They also included parts of Denton, Collin & Grayson counties.
The “investment package” included drawings of the park, attractions & rides, along with a detailed map showing the park boundaries.
Lucas was convicted on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to the FBI in February.
In his sales pitch, he told investors how a “lifelong friend,” a “High School friend,” had the “inside information. When questioned by the FBI, he gave them the name of a man from New Orleans, a Katrina evacuee, who had committed committed suicide. Turned out that Lucas and the man, Michael Watson Sr. met at a methadone clinic in Plano, where they were both receiving treatment.
Disney has denied for years that they have any plans for development in Texas, although a rumor has circulated for more than 30 years that they had looked at property north of San Antonio, astride the Guadeloupe River.
Lucas, meanwhile, had scores of meetings with people. About 280 people came up with a cool $20 million dollars for land in the area. Other investment groups parted ways with $8 million for options on land. The investors, including former NBA center Jon Koncak, planned to flip the land to developers at a profit when the Disney announcement was made.
Numerous partnerships, joint ventures and limited liability companies were set up to begin acquiring land in the area.
The judge ordered the individual investors to receive about 8.4 million in restitution. That represents a return of 42 cents on the dollar. The groups will not see any form of payback.
The plot started to unravel when Investors realized the Disney resort was fictional and Lucas’s four-year plan for the land never came to be They expected the theme park to open in 2010. Lucas was indicted in 2013.
The federal jury in north Texas deliberated less than a half-day in Sherman before convicting Lucas in February. When asked for comments before sentencing, Lucas told the court he told the court he was “heartbroken and ashamed”.
As for his commissions? Lucas earned nearly $450,000 in sales commissions and fees, according to the Dallas Morning News. Evidence presented in court in February showed that he spent $37,000 on a London vacation in 2007, $14,000 on a suit and shirt and $8,400 cigars and liquor.
Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.