UPDATE, 4/24/14: Furman Otis Clark Jr. was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday on one felony count of organized fraud, according to a release from the State Attorney's Office.
Original story below:
A Fernandina Beach man who once served prison time for killing a prominent DC lobbyist was convicted of swindling local couples with sham investments.
Furman Otis Clark Jr., 65, a land developer and prominent Rotary Club member, was found guilty Tuesday on charges of fraud, grand theft and money laundering.
The charges were brought in 2011, after an investigation by the Office of Financial Regulation and the State Attorney's Office in Nassau County.
Those agencies found Clark had persuaded couples to invest more than $250,000 in in three companies controlled by Clark -- Novus Ordo Investments LLC, FTR Timberlands LLC and Clark-Price Ventures LLC. "Contrary to written and oral representations by Clark, the investment objectives were non-existent, illusory and created by Clark for the purpose of defrauding the investors."
Clark instead used that money "to pay personal living expenses, club membership fees, expenses for horses and personal medical bills," according to the state.
Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear told First Coast News, "I am pleased that justice has been served in this case."
Clark previously served time in prison in Georgia for the 1985 murder of Julian Singman, a prominent maritime lobbyist and DC lawyer who once worked as counsel for the US House of Representatives. His body was found floating in a creek near Savannah a week after a scheduled meeting with Clark. Police found the murder weapon, along with the dead man's watch, credit cards and bloody clothes in Clark's vehicle.
Clark was subsequently also was accused of stealing from chambers of commerce in Macon, Ga., and Vicksburg, Miss., where he worked.
Clark was taken into custody following Tuesday's verdict. His sentencing hearing is set for April 24, and he faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.