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NC Man Gets 50 Years In Ponzi Scheme

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — An Ashe County man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say had more than 400 victims.

Forty-seven-year-old Keith Simmons of West Jefferson was sentenced in federal court in Charlotte on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say the Black Diamond Ponzi scheme took $40 million from investors, many of whom were more than 75 years old and loss their life savings.

Simmons was convicted of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in Charlotte in 2010.

Prosecutors said Simmons told investors he was putting their money in a foreign currency trading program with annual returns as high as 137 percent in 2007.

Prosecutor say Simmons invested none of the money and spent millions of dollars on real estate near his home.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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