Former owner of penny stock company sentenced in fraud case

The former president of a Lexington penny stock company was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for defrauding thousands of investors nationwide out of more than $18 million.

A jury found James Norman Turek guilty of committing securities fraud and tax fraud in June, according to a news release from the Office of the United States Attorney.

Turek, 67, headed Plasticon International Inc., which sold recycled plastic products.

Turek was charged with luring approximately 8,500 investors into buying Plasticon stock by claiming that Plasticon was profitable when it was losing millions of dollars, and by claiming that Plasticon owned valuable patents.

The evidence at trial showed that Turek told investors he was working for nothing when he really was taking millions of dollars from Plasticon. He obtained the money by issuing billions of shares of company stock to himself and transferring it into the names of friends and family members, including his deceased aunt, before selling the stock to unsuspecting investors.

The evidence also showed that Turek filed false tax returns for 2003 through 2007 by failing to report approximately $12 million that he obtained from Plasticon.