Edward May was sentenced to 16 years in prison last week in federal court in Detroit for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in Michigan history, according to an FBI press release.
May pled guilty in April to 59 counts of mail fraud in connection with a decade-long investment fraud scheme that cheated investors out of $350 million. According to court documents, May solicited more than 1,200 investors to invest at least $350 million in more than 250 limited liability corporations that purportedly provided telecommunications services to major hotels across the United States. The investments were fictitious and resulted in investor losses of more than $49 million.
Investors were told their funds would be "used solely for the purpose of purchasing telephone, high-speed Internet, low-speed Internet, [and] DVD equipment" under "contacts" and "agreements" that didn't actually exist. Instead of investing the funds as represented, May diverted and misappropriated the funds for his personal purposes and to make Ponzi payments to other investors.
For more information, read the full release here.