A New Yorker who, with his wife, defrauded metro Atlantans and others out of more than $12 million in an investment Ponzi scheme was sentenced to 27 years in prison, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Andrew S. Mackey of Cedarhurst, N.Y., was also ordered to repay around $6.7 million to the 150 investors he defrauded. His common-law wife, Inger L. Jensen, 54, also of Cedarhurst, was sentenced in August to 14 years in federal prison.
Mackey and Jensen promised “sophisticated investors” that they would see returns of up to 20 percent a month through the couple’s “wealth enhancement club,” according to testimony presented in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Instead, between 2003 and 2007, less than a third of the money collected by the couple’s Valley Stream, N.Y.-based ASM Financial Funding Corp. was invested, and all of that money was lost, prosecutors said. The remaining two-thirds of the funds was used for personal gain and to pay off intermediaries who helped recruit investors.
“Although we have prosecuted many multimillion dollar Ponzi schemes in recent years, defendant Mackey’s sentence is the longest imposed in this District for a case of this type,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, who called the New Yorkers con artists. “We hope that the sentences imposed in this case will serve as a warning to anyone who is considering defrauding investors in this District.”
Clients were told their profits would either be reinvested or returned to them in the form of monthly payments. The payments to early investors, however, were actually a portion of the money the clients had invested, and not actual earnings.
Mackey and Jensen also issued monthly statements and tax forms showing bogus interest income, prosecutors said. For a while, the couple was able to persuade investors not to go to the authorities by promising future payouts, and warned that alerting the authorities could jeopardize those payments.
After an eight-day trial in May, Mackey and Jensen were found guilty on 15 of 17 charges, including wire and mail fraud. Each could have received a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on each count.
FBI Special Agent Mark F. Giuliano urged anyone with information or concerns about possible Ponzi investment schemes to contact the nearest FBI field office.
“While the FBI is prepared to dedicate substantial investigative resources to address these fraudulent Ponzi investment schemes, we also take every opportunity to educate the public in avoiding such investment scams in the first place,” Giuliano said in a statement.