Redstone Castle fallout continues
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen CO, Colorado
DENVER ” U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn sentenced a man Wednesday to 30 years in prison for his role in a $56 million investment scam linked to the purchase of the Redstone Castle.
Charles Franklin Lewis of Littleton was convicted on 10 felony charges including money laundering, conspiracy and various counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. A letter of support was sent to the court from his daughter on Monday.
“I believe and stand behind my dad because I believe in his innocence 100 percent and can’t believe the pain we have endured on a daily basis because of his association with Norm Schmidt,” the letter said.
Norman Schmidt, 72, of Denver was sentenced Tuesday to 330 years in prison for his role in the investment scheme.
John Harrison, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division, said that was “the largest single sentence ever handed out in an IRS criminal investigation case in the agency’s history in Colorado.”
Schmidt’s attorney, Thomas Hammond, said Wednesday, “To say that it is excessive is an understatement.”
He wrote in a motion filed before sentencing, “It is unreasonable to expect that Mr. Schmidt will live to 100. A sentence beyond that is both unreasonable and impossible, and threatens to make a mockery of the federal sentencing process.”
Hammond said Schmidt will appeal the sentence.
Schmidt’s wife, Jannice, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and criminal forfeiture in 2006, and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Co-defendants Alan Weed and Michael Smith face sentencing in June, while Peter A.W. Moss of England remains at large.
The group worked from 1999 to 2003 to defraud investors with a purportedly high-yield investment program using a number of shell corporations. The scam promised investors high returns, guaranteed them against loss and even sent out phony monthly statements, investigators believe.
Proceeds were used to buy the Redstone Castle, located south of Carbondale in the tiny community of Redstone; eight NASCAR race cars; a race truck and other race items. Investigators also seized 60 bank accounts and other property.
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Local fire officials in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties are heightening their fire concerns, and starting this week Stage 1 fire restrictions will be enacted. Stage 1 means no campfires in undeveloped sites, no fireworks and no smoking outside unless it’s in an area cleared of all combustible materials.