Seven months after being indicted by a grand jury on theft charges, JumpCon founder Shane Senter has pleaded guilty to two counts for violating the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act and two counts of theft.
A letter to victims of the failed convention was sent earlier this week by Constance N. Stratton, a senior assistant attorney general for New Hampshire's Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau.
"The state has agreed to recommend to the court a suspended sentence at the House of Corrections, five years probation, and restitution to all victims of his operation of JumpCon," according to Stratton's letter. "A condition of his sentence also includes that he not own, operate, manage or control a business where he takes deposits/payments prior to providing the promised goods and/or services."
A judge is set to decide whether or not he will accept the sentence during a hearing Nov. 23 in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, N.H.
Senter came under fire last year when his series of JumpCon conventions, which had planned its first event in Massachusetts, collapsed. It happened a short time after FedCon USA, a convention put together by the founders of the TrekUnited movement, had fallen apart after that gathering had started. At the time, Senter posted a message to the JumpCon Web site saying comparisons between his convention and that of FedCon were unfounded.
"This has never been a scheme, and was never about money for me," Senter said at the time. "I hope when the refunds have all been issued, people will accept the truth."
"Many factors that needed to come together to make [the convention] happen, simply did not," Senter said of JumpCon. "We tried everything humanly possibly and were unable to overcome the insurmountable obstacles. I wanted to see this succeed so badly that I was blinded to some warning signs that should have been obvious."
A month after the indictment, Senter filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection claiming liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million, but assets of up to $10,000. Senter made the filing under the New Hampshire Travel Agency.
Chapter 7 filings are typically meant for full-blown liquidation of assets to cover debts, but there wasn't a lot of assets available to cover what Senter said he owed.
According to the May filings, Senter received $10,500 in disability payments through Social Security over the last three years, making about $700 a month in SSDI and food stamps. He also listed minimal assets including five gaming chairs valued at $125, a pair of virtual reality glasses at $120, various games and a gaming system at $588 and a $120 projector.
In all, Senter said he had assets of $1,900, of which $1,300 he claimed as exempt under federal bankruptcy law.
Among the entities he owed money, Senter had an outstanding bill of $4.6 million owed to Hilton Hotels Corp. after losing an arbitration case against them. He also owes $2.5 million to various hotels, including $345,150 to the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa in Montgomery, Ala., and $10,000 to the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers where he was supposed to host his first JumpCon.
He owed refunds for hundreds of prepaid tickets to fans, many of whom were listed as victims in the criminal aspect of New Hampshire's investigation, as well as more than $540,000 to a number of celebrity guests for JumpCon that he had to cancel.
Former "Battlestar Galactica" star Edward James Olmos, who Senter said in bankruptcy papers he owed $60,000 to, told fans attending Dragon*Con last year, that the JumpCon founder had angered the wrong guy.
"This guy ended up doing ... a real major con job on all of us," Olmos said, according to the Nashua Telegraph. "He'll learn that he should not mess with an admiral. Nor the people that take part in these kinds of conventions. We will get to the bottom of this, and I'm going to try and get everybody their money back."
Requests for comment and details from the New Hampshire Attorney General's office by Airlock Alpha were not returned Tuesday.
To see a complete list of what celebrities were owed by JumpCon, according to bankruptcy filings, click here.
Thanks to Sil for the tip!
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