Boca man faces prison for fraud convictions

By Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH  — A Boca Raton man faces a maximum of 133 years in prison after being found guilty of securities and tax fraud Friday in federal court

Donald Platten, former president of Harvard Learning Centers in Boca Raton, also faces more than $30 million in fines. Federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks is scheduled to sentence Platten on Oct. 30.

In December 2008, Platten was indicted on 17 charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax fraud. He was convicted on the conspiracy to commit securities fraud count, 6 of the 14 securities fraud counts, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax fraud.

According to prosecutors, Platten had Harvard Learning issue stock to his wife, his sister, his ex-sister-in-law and his limousine driver, supposedly as repayment of loans they allegedly made to the company.  The loans, however, were bogus, and the stock a way to pay off his own debts and put money in his pocket.

Platten also caused a subsidiary of Harvard Learning to pay the personal expenses of himself, his wife, his mother, his sister and his teenage son, according to prosecutors.

Platten also failed to file corporate federal tax returns for Harvard Learning for the years 2004 through 2007 and failed to file his personal federal tax returns for the years 2004 and 2005. For the year 2006, Platten failed to report the income he received from the stock issues.

According to the indictment and evidence introduced at trial, Platten had his limousine driver buy a  house and obtain a mortgage by providing false information about his income and assets in order to conceal Platten's ownership. The day after he purchased the house, the driver executed a quit claim deed transferring his interest in the property to Platten's wife.

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