But much like his purported natural-resources company, Petro America, Hawkins' legal strategy has gotten him nowhere but prison.
Hawkins is spending a 30-year stretch in federal prison
, which means he will probably die behind bars. Despite his incarceration, his legal setbacks continue.
Readers of this newspaper know Hawkins well. In 2010, The Pitch broke the news
that Hawkins had flimflammed investors all over the country by selling securities in Petro America, which he described as a $284 billion operation. Hawkins and others were charged in federal court in Kansas City right around the time the original story was coming out.
While some of Hawkins' co-conspirators pleaded guilty to avoid a trial, Hawkins and a handful of others tested the government's claims against the $10.2 million scam that took its toll on local investors. Hawkins represented himself, which made for excruciating proceedings
for anyone seated in the courtroom gallery, to say nothing of judges, lawyers and jurors who watched Hawkins play a lawyer.
Just before his criminal trial started last year, Hawkins filed a lawsuit against assistant U.S. attorney Daniel Nelson and IRS investigator Devin Fields, accusing them of perjury, leaking secret grand jury information to the media and malicious prosecution. Hawkins' claims in the lawsuit mirrored his overall legal approach during trial: If only the feds had kept their nose out of Petro America's affairs, the company would have
continued laundering money and ripping off investors
become the pride of Kansas City's business community.
Such claims made by defendants facing charges come up from time to time but rarely gain traction. Hawkins is no different. Federal Judge Gary Fenner summarily dismissed Hawkins' lawsuit against Nelson and Fields.
Fenner found a number of holes in Hawkins' claims, not the least of which starts with the fact that Hawkins didn't properly serve notice of the lawsuit against Nelson and Fields.
Hawkins will remain in prison. He's one of about 1,800 men secured at a medium-security federal prison in the eastern Arkansas town of Forrest City. His release date is October 24, 2039.
Through most of Owen Hawkins' recent brushes with the law, the 58-year-old self-proclaimed entrepreneur has eschewed legal counsel. After all, if the Kansas City man could build one of the world's largest companies only in his own mind, he possessed the wits to get himself out of legal trouble.