Michael Winans Jr. gets nearly 14 years in prison for Ponzi scheme
Member of Winans gospel music family sentenced to 14 years in prison for $8M fraud
A member of the gospel music Winans family has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for an $8 million financial scam.
Two of Michael Winans Jr.'s victims spoke in Detroit federal court Wednesday, saying the scheme devastated families.
Attorney Hammoud had asked for a sentence within the guidelines, which range from 12 1/2 years to 15 1/2 years in prison.
Winans sold oil bonds to more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008.
He promised 100 percent returns in two months then used the money for personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 people are still owed nearly $5 million.
Winans eventually learned the bonds were phony but didn't tell investors and kept collecting money.
Defenders: Victims of con man's Ponzi scheme seek harsh sentence
READ: Criminal complaint against Michael Winans Jr.
About Michael Winans Jr:
Winans is a third-generation member of one of gospel music's first families. He's the grandson of Delores "Mom" Winans and David "Pop" Winans Sr., and the son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, a quartet of brothers. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral.
The sentencing memo from Assistant U.S. Attorney Abed Hammoud includes comments from people who gave Winans money or collected it for him. They referred to him as a "silver-tongue con man," who solicited money from church pulpits and used his last name to enhance his credibility.
Winans "clearly abused the fact that he came from a very well-known family with a good reputation in order to induce people to invest with him," Hammoud said. "He also used religion to convince people to trust and invest with him. This translated into over $8 million obtained by fraud from so-called investors, which financially ruined many of them."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.