California Man Sentenced In Texas For $40 Million Ponzi Scheme

FORT WORTH (May 3, 2013)--Jeffrey J. Sykes, 54, of San Bernardino County, Calif., was sentenced Friday in North Texas to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $17 million in restitution for operating a Ponzi scheme.

Sykes was sentenced for organizing the $40 million scheme that bilked dozens of investors who believed they were trading in U.S. Treasury bills.

He pleaded guilty in January to two counts of securities fraud.

He was the owner of Gemstar Capital Group, a private equity company based in Redlands, Calif.

Prosecutors say none of the money was invested in Treasury bills and that instead Sykes and another person involved in the scheme used some of the money for personal expenses.

Other money went toward ventures not approved by the investors.

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