A Connecticut man was convicted of tricking investors out of $30 million in a Ponzi scheme that involved a total of $100 million in cash exchanged in an elaborate ruse was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Once he gets out, he’ll have to pay $500 a month in restitution, although the actual figure will be based on what he can afford.
The AP reports the man claimed he could score huge profits — 20 percent per quarter — for investors by working the markets for diamonds and distressed homes, but apparently he was just paying others with money from new victims. Some of his investors actually came out ahead, presumably because they wisely decided not to re-invest their windfalls. Authorities are attempting to recover the ill-gotten profits from the debacle.
Says a 68-year-old woman who was bilked out of $200,000 in the con:
“He gained my confidence and it was all lies. It was a very bad thing Michael did. I was hurt by it. I may have to sell my house. I’m trying to work.”
The federal prosecutor said the man ran the scheme because he needed to feel like a big shot:
“This was a case of what I consider epic narcissism, epic ego. He needed to feel like he was important. He needed to feel like he was these people’s economic savior.”