Clinton Tod Harwell: Fake Oil Millionaire Convicted Of Felony Theft In California Court
UPDATED, FEBRUARY 14, 2012: Harwell called to say that he is trying to put his life in order now and wishes there wasn't so much negative information about him on the Internet. For the record, he disputes the account of the anonymous woman in this story and says that her claim that he kicked her under the table at P.F. Chang's is "crap" and "absolutely ludicrous." We did not have the opportunity to interview him two years ago as he was then incarcerated in a Ventura County, California jail.
Bad dealings, and porn actresses who are anal-sex specialists
Clinton Tod Harwell might have run his last scam for a while. The long-time Houstonian -- well-known as a defendant in the civil and criminal courthouses here -- moved to California a while back, and that's where he came to grief.
And a search through the records reveals that Harwell is not just a convicted thief -- he is also a lying cad and according to records in he Harris County Civil Courthouse, an alleged woman-beater.
According to Ventura County assistant District Attorney Dominic Kardum, Harwell entered a guilty plea on April 23 to a charge of felony grand theft enhanced by a special allegation that he took more than $65,000. He remains in a California jail on $100,000 bond, awaiting what could be a four-year sentence.
Harwell had recently been officing in Westlake Village, near Malibu, and was doing business under the names Ranch Exploration Co. LLC and Lobo 2006 Resources LLC. Kardum recently told the Ventura County Star that Harwell tried to get people to invest in invalid oil and gas leases and said that there was one victim in Ventura County and another in Los Angeles County. Harwell is said to have met his victims through "personal introductions at social circles."
That was also how a local woman, one who doesn't want her name used, also met him about ten years ago. She says that a friend hooked the two of them up when the woman needed a ride from Denver to Aspen around Christmastime in 2000. The tipster was told that Harwell was going to be renting a Hummer at Denver Airport and riding out to Aspen with a few women he knew, and that she was welcome to join in.
The woman had just gotten a divorce and was going to Aspen to see her sister, and she was apprehensive about riding from Denver with Harwell, so she arranged to meet him here in town before the trip. It was at a Christmas Party at the company Harwell owned at the time: OPMI, which officially stood for Offshore Project Management, Inc, but that Harwell allegedly called Other People's Money, Inc.
"He was just real flamboyant and goofy and I thought, well maybe this will be okay," the woman remembers. "There will be other girls and all that."
Turns out she was the only woman traveling with him. And then when they got to Denver, he claimed to have left his wallet on the plane.
"I said 'You better go find it 'cause I'm not taking care of you. I'm not your girlfriend. You better go back on the plane and get it 'cause I don't have enough money to take care of you. You're on your own. This is just hitching a ride.'"
Harwell left and "found" his wallet. The woman says he next told them to split up -- she could go get the bags while he went to get the Hummer. "So then he comes running back and says that they won't take his debit card," the woman recalls. "He says that I'm gonna have to put it on my credit card. I was like 'I thought this was supposed to be your deal.' And he's like 'I'll pay you back, I swear,' and I started to get this horrible feeling, but then I was thinking but maybe he really is a good guy. I don't want to make him feel bad."
So they go get the car, and its, like, a Hyundai or something. "So I say, 'Tod, where's the Hummer?' not that I care, and he goes 'Oh, we've gotta go by my buddy John Elway's place. I knew John Elway had some car dealerships up there, so maybe that was true. And then we get outside of Denver and I ask about going to get the Hummer from John Elway, and he's all 'Oh, I couldn't get ahold of him.' You know, just bull."