San Diego Ponzi scammer gets 30-year sentence

AP News
Posted: May 16, 2011 6:31 PM
San Diego Ponzi scammer gets 30-year sentence

Federal prosecutors in San Diego say the leader of a Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, one of the longest white-collar sentences in the region's history.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said Monday that Thanh-Viet "Jeremy" Cao was also ordered to pay nearly $12.5 million in restitution.

Cao was convicted in December of conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said he was a career criminal who defrauded victims and threatened them with violence.

Authorities say he promised to invest clients' money in real estate, mortgages and other financial transactions but instead took the money for himself and spent $200,000 on a Bentley that he tried to armor.

Prosecutors say that in all, Cao cheated approximately 190 victims out of more than $10 million.