Ponzi Schemer Gets 24 Years

A Texas man convicted of defrauding more than 2,500 investors of $17 million in a Ponzi scheme marketed through automated outbound calls received a 24-year prison sentence from a federal judge last week.

Al Petty, 69, of Overton, TX, stood accused of promising investors returns of 500 to 1,300 percent in automated telemarketing calls, but used money obtained from new investors to pay off early investors. A jury convicted him Oct. 30 on 98 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

Petty maintained his innocence and claimed none of his investors had lost money until the government froze his assets. In addition to his jail sentence, the judge ordered Petty to pay a $9,800 fine, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas is seeking restitution for investors.

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