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Seventeen Years for a $4.5 Million Ponzi Scam

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - An Oklahoma man was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for his role in a $4.5 million investment-note fraud that ripped off 83 victims.

Brian William McKye, 50, of Bethany, was sentenced Thursday and ordered to pay more than $4.5 million in restitution.

After a four-day trial a jury in November 2013 found him guilty of seven counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The jury deliberated for less than 90 minutes. McKye, who represented himself at trial, faced a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Prosecutors said that from 2006 through 2009, McKye did business as Global West Funding Ltd., Global West Financial LLC, Global West Financial LLC, Sure Lock Financial LLC, Sure Lock Loans LLC, and The Wave-Goldmade Ltd.

"McKye used these businesses to market investment contracts whereby investors were guaranteed a monthly rate of return from 6.5 percent to 20 percent for 6 to 60 months," prosecutors said in a statement Thursday. "Investors were told they had '100 percent total control' of their money and that the investments were secured by risk-free real estate notes."

McKye was not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer in Oklahoma, prosecutors said. They said he used the money to pay his personal and business expenses and doled out some limited returns to investors to keep the scheme going. His companies were shut down by the Oklahoma Department of Securities in the spring of 2009.

McKye was first convicted in November 2011, sentenced to 21 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $4.5 million in restitution.

The 10th Circuit reversed and remanded that conviction in August 2013, finding that the trial judge had erred in instructing the jury that the notes in question were securities.

"Because the question of whether a note is a security is a mixed question of fact and law and because this jury was instructed that the government was required to prove the instruments issued by Global West were securities as an element of its case, the district court erred when it instructed the jury that notes are securities," the 10th Circuit ruled.

But he's going to prison anyway.

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