Former stripper gets nearly 3{ years in NASCAR fraud case

Updated: May 25, 2007, 1:29 PM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN -- A former stripper from suburban Round Rock was sentenced to nearly 3½ years in federal prison Friday for her attempt to embezzle more than $1 million from an Austin bank to start her own NASCAR racing team.

Fatemeh Angela Harkness, 31, pleaded guilty in January 2004 to conspiring with Gary Jones to embezzle more than $1 million from his bank from 2000 to 2003. She received a 40-month sentence, the Austin American-Statesman reported on its Web site Friday.

Harkness and Jones used the money to assemble a NASCAR team called Angela's Motorsports. The team, featuring driver Mike McLaughlin, entered cars in the Busch Grand National Series starting in late 2002.

Harkness fled to Mexico before her sentencing in 2004 and continued on to the United Arab Emirates. She surrendered last month and was returned to the U.S. for sentencing.

Harkness' attorney of record, Rick J. Kennon of Austin, did not immediately return calls for comment.

Jones, who pleaded guilty to fraud, theft and embezzlement charges, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in August 2004.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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