Paul A. Toneman, the Silver Spring promoter who was convicted last month of luring investors into a fraudulent $1 billion newtown development scheme on Maryland's Eastern Shore, was sentenced to 29 years in prison yesterday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
The 62-year-old Toneman, wearing a rumpled blue sports jacket and looking sober and drawn, was told by Judge David L. Cahoon that the lengthy sentence was based on his belief that "there is nothing . . . to indicate that anything short of incarceration will deter you" from committing similar crimes in the future.
"You have shown no expression of remorse except those concerns that are selfish in nature," said Judge Cahoon. Toneman would be eligible for parole in 7 1/2 years.
Toneman was convicted on seven counts of fraud for "unlawfully and knowingly" obtaining more than $65,000 from three area doctors, a dentist and a businessman for investment in a project he called a Patone Village.
Toneman billed the proposed new town as an "Eastern Shore Columbia," and told investors it would be financed by Arab oil money and would includes 60,000 homes, the world's largest shopping center, a model hospital, a yacht club and marines, and a police force larger than that of Washington, D.C., according to testimony.
But testimony showed that no Arab money ever was pledged to the project nor did Toneman own the land for Patone Village. Investigators also learned that he had no recognizable assets and no line of credit.
Defense Attorney Cynthia Malament argued for a sentence of supervised probation for Toneman "because of his age, his physical condition and the nature of his involvement in this plan." Malament also stressed that the defendant's "basic character is a good one . . . he's a loving husband, he's a faithful church goer, he works at a lot of charitable activities."
Deputy State's Attorney Timothy Clarke, noting that Toneman was quoted in a pre-sentence investigation as saying he still believed that Patone Village is a feasible project, told judge that Toneman "is a danger to the community. He says he's going to keep going."
Clarke also noted that at the time he was charged in the Patone Village case, Toneman was on probation for a prior conviction for attempting to sell land which is actually the Anne Arundel County dump.
Judge Cahoon denied an appeal bond for Toneman and made the promoter's sentence effective immediately.
These men were the last in a long line of smaller investors who included architects, policemen, firemen and doctors, all of whom gave Toneman money for his scheme, according to police investigators. Some of them had invested their life savings, while others had quit their jobs to work for Toneman, according to testimony.
Toneman's wife Lucy, who as prestors that he had received a pledge of a $600 million loan from an Arab banker, Muhammad M. Abushadi.
At the trial, Abushadi, chairman of the Union Banques Arab Francaises, a consortium of Arab banks, testified that he had ignored several requests by Toneman to invest in the proposed new town. A forged letter from Abushadi was used by Toneman to demonstrate support for his scheme by the Arabs, according to the prosecution.
Toneman's wife Jucy, who was present in the courtroom yesterday, shrieked as officers handcuffed her husband. "I can't take it, I love you so much," she cried, kissing him as he was led away to jail.
Toneman was charged with defrauding Fairfax dentist John F. Phillips of $32,500 and retired Silver Silver Spring businessman Frederick P. Babcock of $25,000 by promising each the exclusive right to establish a cable television operation in Patone Village. Three doctors, Joseph T. Inglefield of Falls Church and Anthony Jean-Jacques and Frank A. Camp of Columbia, contributed $7,500 each to operate a hospital in the new town.