San Diego (AP) — A San Diego businessman whose Ponzi scheme has claimed hundreds from nearly $ 400 million was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on Wednesday.
Gina Champion-Cain, 57, received more than the prosecutor’s recommended ruling. In the ruling, Judge Larry Barnes of the US District Court said that some of the victims were friends she had known for years, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
“This lasted for seven years. It wasn’t just strangers who wanted to get rich,” Burns said. “This is a level of deception and betrayal that I was completely unaware of.”
Champion-Cain was best known for its currently closed patio restaurant chain, but it also had a clothing and vacation rental business. The plan included Champion Cain, who invests people in a business (American National Investments) that appears to have provided high-interest loans to companies seeking a California liquor license.
Instead, some of the investment money was used to repay former investors in the classic Ponzi scheme, officials said. According to prosecutors, other money was spent supporting Champion Cain’s failed business, but what about the luxury lifestyle of San Diego Padres and Chargers game homes, cars, jewelry, box seats, and more. A million dollars were paid.
The prosecution said the plan received at least $ 372 million from more than 490 investors who lost at least $ 180 million.
Champion-Cain pleaded guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud, and obstruction of justice in July.
In a court statement, Champion Cain said her main goal was to collect money for the victims, but the judge said much of the money was spent.
In a statement to protection observers last year, Champion Cain intended the lending program to be legal, but it went out of control and began to “build up” the deal, Union Tribune reported. ..
“I always told myself that the massive growth of the empire I was trying to build would one day be able to repay these notes,” she wrote.
According to Union Tribune, the Chicago title, an escrow company that held investor funding raised by Champion Cain, has been sued by investors and nearly 200 people have reached a settlement for more than $ 60 million so far. ..
Crispin Torres, former financial officer of American National Investments, was sentenced to four years in prison this month after pleading guilty to a plot related to the plan.