Michigan residents should be aware of the harsh punishments that people charged with white-collar crimes can face. A 48-year-old man from another state was recently sentenced to four decades in prison for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors in three states $9 million. For those living in Michigan who currently face charges related to white-collar crime, it's important that they understand their legal rights.

The man's victims were located in three nearby states. In addition to prison, the court ordered him to pay $5.3 million in restitution to his 72 investors. This includes forfeiting real estate in Michigan, a boat, and a trailer. Last month, the man received a sentence of 11 years from a U.S. District Court in Ohio for fraud, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice charges. The man's partner is awaiting trial on similar charges.

In a statement, the U.S. attorney on the case said that this case showed all the signs of a classic Ponzi scheme. Early investors were given interest or return on capital payments by using the money solicited by later investors instead of it being generated by investment earnings. Federal officials say that the man's companies were nothing more than personal bank accounts where investor's money was deposited for the use of the man and allegedly his partner.

Cases such as this one can be complex because of the large amount of money and large number of people involved. These complexities often make understanding one's legal rights even more important. Speaking to an experienced defense attorney may be helpful for those seeking to find holes in the prosecution's case.

Source: Pal-Item, "Man gets 40 years for Ponzi scheme," Pam Tharp, Nov. 14, 2012