SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – An Orange County man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for a Ponzi scheme he ran with an attorney that took $61 million from 140 investors before it crashed. James Halstead, 63, of Tustin, also was ordered to pay $14.5 million in restitution.
Halstead pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud in September 2009. He admitted he worked with Irvine attorney Jeanne Rowzee, 50. They claimed they would put their victims’ money into public investments in private entities and the money market, and promised 25 to 35 percent returns every 3 to 4 months.
But they spent the money on themselves. Halstead spent $195,005 on a Ferrari, more than $1 million on a home near Las Vegas, and $162,350 on a Porsche.
Rowzee pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud in October 2008. She faces a statutory minimum of 15 years in federal prison at her Dec. 13 sentencing.