A former North Carolina resident was sentenced to a decade in federal prison for his involvement with the $32.5 million Queen Shoals Ponzi scheme.
Gary Martin, of St. Augustine Florida and formerly of Charlotte, will have to serve two years of probation after his release. And a federal judge ordered him to pay $31,707,038 in restitution.
Martin, 61, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy in February 2012.
Sidney Hanson, who started Queens Shoals Consultants LLC, was sentenced in the Spring of 2011 to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud and mail fraud.
Authorities said in a press release that Hanson never told Martin that Queens Shoals Consultants was a Ponzi Scheme, Martin tricked the victims into investing through a series of false and fraudulent representations.
He claimed Queens Shoals had over 20 years of experience in financial services and international finance. And he said that he had a vast background in financial services.
Investors were lured into the scheme with the promise of risk-free investments, and promised returns of 8 to 24 percent, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which investigated the scheme.
Instead, the investors were simply paid with money from other investors. The CFTC also said in a press release that investors’ money was used for the personal expenses of the Hansons, including “the purchase of an 88-acre farm, private plane rentals, and luxury vacations.”
“This Ponzi scheme had devastating results,” Judge Robert Conrad said while announcing the sentencing. “People in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s lost everything because Hanson and Martin defrauded them.”
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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