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.
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.