The owners of Hart Galleries, a Galleria-area auction house specializing in antiques, were sentenced to 14 years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to financial crimes in connection with their business.
Jerry Hart, 65, and Wynonne Hart, 61, pleaded guilty to misapplication of fiduciary property of more than $200,000, a first-degree felony, in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of theft and laundering.“Mr. Hart, you are a thief in a suit. Mrs. Hart, you are a thief in a dress.”
Judge Randy Roll said putting senior citizens in prison was difficult, but said they did not take any responsibility for stealing money from their customers. They had faced punishments ranging from probation to life in prison.
“It was a classic Ponzi scheme,” Roll said. “They were using the newest customers’ money to pay off the oldest customers.”
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