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Long Beach Man Admits to $33M Ponzi Scam

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Long Beach man pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 50 investors out of $33 million in a real estate Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Jon Weldon James, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to federal wire fraud for promising high returns on real estate investments that turned out to be a Ponzi scam, federal prosecutors said.

From late 2003 through August 2006, James had investors pump their savings into his El Segundo-based venture that operated under a variety of names, including J.W. James and Associates and The Cloaking Device, according to prosecutors.

Instead of investing the money in real estate, James used it to pay off other investors and cover personal expenses, including paying for his wedding and investing in a recording studio and production company called On the Ball Entertainment, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the scam caused about $11 million in losses.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 24. James faces up to 20 years in federal prison.


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