Jury finds VR Labs owners and business partner guilty of charges

Published: February 22, 2019 12:01 PM EST
Updated: February 23, 2019 4:05 PM EST

A jury has found Robert and Kay Gow guilty on all 10 charges brought before them and has also found business partner John G. Williams guilty on three out of five charges in the trial against VR Labs.

Jury deliberations were underway Friday in the trial against VR Labs.

At the courthouse Thursday, closing arguments were heard after prosecutors called VR Labs, a former health supplement company, a scheme and a nightmare.

Lee County awarded the owners, Robert and Kay Gow, $5 million to build a production facility and to bring hundreds of jobs.

The Gows hired a longtime friend, John Williams, to create the bottling line in the new facility. But, there were no jobs and the bottling line was not finished.

In closing, the prosecutors revealed a pattern of payments to prove conspiracy and wire fraud.

Money trail prosecutors laid out

The building contractor would pay Williams Specialty Bottling. Within the next day or two, Williams used those payments to invest in VR Labs either through his family company or through a fake business he later created, which he called Hong Kong Associates.

Ultimately, prosecutors said the money ended up back in the Gows hands where they spent more than $500,000 of grant money on credit card debts, mortgage payments, luxury cars and more.

Response by the defense

The defense fired back. It said the Gows and Williams acted in good faith with no intention to cause financial losses or harm — something the government needs to prove to convict all three defendants.

The defense also said Williams was a true believer in VR Labs and never recovered from his family’s investments into the company while the Gows lived off the money.

The defense lawyers will find out if their response was enough to prove by reasonable doubt their clients innocence as soon as Friday after the judge reads the jury instructions in the morning.