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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Con man stole $2.25M from investors

A Spokane con man had such a good sales pitch that he convinced a physician and a lawyer to take part in his get-rich quick schemes. In the end, some 10 investors lost more than $2.25 million they threw at his false promises.

Robert B. Hiatt, 57, pleaded guilty Thursday to eight felony fraud counts and a single count of intimidating a witness after he threatened to kill a whistleblower. Hiatt’s wide-ranging scheme promised huge returns on investments that never existed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Scheme promised to harness lightning

A Spokane man who claimed to have invented a computer chip that could capture energy from lightning strikes is set to ask for his relese from jail today on federal charges that he defrauded investors of more than $2.5 million.

Robert B. Hiatt, 65, presented himself to investors for a decade as a successful inventor and businessman, according to the indictment on three counts of wire fraud returned Wednesday by a grand jury.

Hiatt pleaded not guilty Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno. Hiatt claimed to have inside tracks to contracts with major companies and solicited investors using front companies that looked real, according to the indictment.  A bail hearing is set today before Imbrogno.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.