A former Miami postal carrier will soon stand trial on allegations he suckered coworkers and customers along his route into paying him over $4 million — by promising fantastic riches from gold and diamond mines in Africa.
And now he’s also suspected in a scam sale of the most famous comic book ever.
Prosecutors on Tuesday revealed that Lawyer Stanley is also being accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly veteran who was promised a copy of Action Comics No. 1, the legendary 1938 debut of Superman. The comic is considered the most valuable in history. One copy sold for $3.2 million three years ago.
Stanley, Miami-Dade prosecutors said, promised a copy for only $24,000. The would-be collector — who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the Vietnam War — paid Stanley $12,000 last fall, a detective told the judge.
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“He reels them in with lies and false promises,” Miami prosecutor Mary Ernst told a judge Tuesday, asking that Stanley’s bail be revoked. She added: “He never provided the comic book. He provided a series of excuses.”
His defense lawyer, Vincent Duffy, dismissed the allegations — saying there was no agreement on when the comic book was to be delivered. “It’s a personal vendetta at this point,” Duffy said of the new allegations.
Stanley, 59, hasn’t been charged yet in the comic-book episode, so Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Eric Hendon allowed him to remain free from jail. Stanley was slated to go to trial next week, but it was delayed until at least March.
Stanley, who worked as a South Florida letter carrier for decades, also ran companies on the side called Africa World Trade and the Lena Mae Foundation. For seven years, prosecutors say, Stanley duped more than 30 investors, portraying himself as a mover and shaker in African industries, all while spending their investment money on his own mortgage payments, car rentals, groceries, entertainment and airline tickets.
“Stanley told investors that he traveled to Africa to gold and diamond mines to get the ‘best stones,’ which he then imported to the United States and sold in New York,” Florida Bureau of Financial Investigations Detective Neptime Dieujuste wrote in his arrest warrant.
Stanley introduced people to his purported jeweler, promised to double investments and flashed documents that showed he had tens of millions in African banks, prosecutors said. To at least one investor, Stanley claimed he had contracts to build a port in Cameroon and a “power grid for 50,000 in Equatorial Guinea,” the warrant said.
His charm worked.
One man, Charles Edward Floyd, was promised a 10 to 20 percent return on his investment. Within 10 days. Floyd emptied out his retirement and savings account to the tune of $250,000, according to the state. As months dragged on, the man finally confronted Stanley, who “continued to make excuses, stating, that the people he dealt with in Nigeria and Ghana needed fees to release Floyd’s investment funds.”
“To this date, Floyd has not been paid back by Stanley,” the warrant said.
Another victim, fellow postal employee Stacey Hill, forked over $56,000 to “close on a diamond deal” – and was later asked for money to pay off an African judge who was supposedly delaying his funds.
“My brother you about to get an incredible blessing ... just confirm the check account information, Stacey I love you like a brother,” Stanley allegedly wrote.
Prosecutors say he even duped Lambert Baptiste, a hotel developer in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines islands. Baptiste needed a construction loan and was convinced to invest $69,000 with Stanley — with the promise the money would be returned and a bank would also hand over the half-a-million loan. When the money vanished for months, Stanley “threatened to shoot or call the police if Baptiste ever showed up at his residence to collect his money,” the warrant said.
Another victim was Lynn Washington, a formerly well-known Miami lawyer who himself served three years in prison for stealing funds intended to help troubled inner-city neighborhoods. Prosecutors said Washington gave Stanley $250,000 for “commodities investments in Africa.”