North Texas jury sentences man to 79 years for Ponzi scheme

PHOTO: Opened jail cells, Photo Date: January 28, 2007
By  | 

DALLAS (AP) A Dallas jury has sentenced a Mexican national to 79 years in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $4.9 million.

The sentence imposed Friday on 54-year-old Juan Miguel Lopez represents a year for every one of his victims.

The Dallas County district attorney's office says jurors deliberated for just 20 minutes before finding him guilty a day earlier of money laundering and other charges.

Prosecutors say Lopez sold fraudulent contracts in which investors were promised a return on money that was supposed to finance small business loans.

Lopez made interest payments to some people using money taken from other investors.

Authorities say he targeted Hispanics who were not otherwise able to obtain loans.

Lopez still faces deportation to Mexico