A judge sentenced a Springboro man to 180 months in prison Friday for orchestrating a $70 million Ponzi scheme that authorities said defrauded nearly 500 people.
William Apostelos, 55, pleaded guilty in February to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and theft or embezzlement from an employee benefit.
Apostelos and his wife, Connie Coleman, were in indicted on the charges in October 2015.
Court documents state the scheme began in 2009 and lasted about five years. Together, the couple led a scheme that caused 480 investors to lose more than $20 million collectively, authorities said. Apostelos received $70 million in investment funds.
Apostelos operated and oversaw multiple purported investment and asset management companies in the Dayton area including WMA Enterprises, LLC and Midwest Green Resources, LLC, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Agents said he falsely reported that he held a degree in mathematics and was a registered securities broker.
Coleman also operated and oversaw multiple companies in the Dayton area including Coleman Capital, Inc. and Silver Bridle. These companies were operated through improper use of investor funds to William Apostelos’ companies, agents said.
The couple recruited investors from 37 states to invest in WMA and Midwest Green, telling investors their money would be used for acquiring stocks or securities, purchasing real estate or land, providing loans to businesses and buying silver and gold, according to the Department of Justice.
Instead of investing the money, the couple used it for personal luxuries such as $35,000 a month on Coleman's horse racing company and $400 per month on Victoria’s Secret lingerie, authorities said.
When Apostelos and Coleman became late on interest payments to investors, they advised that their bank account had been hacked, a bank mistakenly failed to wire payment or the deal they had invested in was temporarily on hold.
“This was a massive and devastating fraud the largest Ponzi scheme ever in Dayton,” Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said. “Apostelos thoroughly deserves the substantial prison sentence he received.”
The government seized two racehorses, vehicles, jewelry, artwork and cash totaling $650,000 from the couple.