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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 8 years ago

Ponzi schemer gets 19 years

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James Risher must forfeit two Lexus vehicles, a Smart Car, and a painting.

TAMPA -- James Risher was sentenced to 19 years and 7 seven months in federal prison for crimes related to a $21 million Ponzi scheme he perpetrated.

In addition to serving jail time, Risher was ordered to forfeit a 2007 Lexus, a 2008 Lexus, a 2008 Smart Car, 10 pieces of diamond and other jewelry, a painting, and $12.4 million.

Risher operated his fraudulent scheme from residences in Lee County, Sarasota County, and a location in Mars Hill, N.C. He did not tell his 106 clients, who invested $21 million with him, that he had previously been convicted of fraud and money laundering.

The $12.4 million judgment ordered by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday represents the amount of money diverted by Risher from investor accounts for his own personal use.

Risher pleaded guilty to all charges of mail fraud, money laundering, and engaging in an illegal monetary transaction on Sept. 9.

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