A 64-year-old former investment manager was sentenced in New York federal court on Friday to serve six years in prison and pay restitution to his victims for running an $18 million Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said.
James Peister pleaded guilty in November at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, to defrauding 74 investors over a decade.
"After stealing millions of dollars in inheritances and retirement savings, Peister now faces his own retirement in prison while his victims struggle to rebuild their lives," acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement.
In addition to paying more than $9 million in restitution, Peister was also ordered to forfeit his luxury estate, which includes a lavish residence on New York's Long Island and a Hummer sport-utility vehicle.
Peister was convicted of raising about $18 million between January 2000 and June 2009 from investors who believed their money would be placed in stocks and other securities.
Instead of investing, Peister used the funds to keep his scheme afloat and pocketed the rest to support his lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said. He sent phony account statements to investors and submitted false financial statements to his fund's independent auditor, prosecutors said.
The scheme collapsed after the financial crisis of 2008 dried up Peister's investment pool.
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