MANHATTAN (CN) - A Florida man who defrauded investors of $23 million in an advanced-fee scam was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in federal prison. During sentencing, U.S. District Judge George Daniels called Emil Scheringer the "ultimate con man" who showed "total callous disregard for victims."
Scheringer told his victims he had billion-dollar international oil contracts and persuaded hundreds of people to give him money for phony investments.
Scheringer claimed his company Supreme Oil had contracts in Nigeria and other countries. As in a Nigerian email scam, Scheringer claimed his money was blocked by legal impediments and he would need more money to get it. He often promised people double or triple their investment in a few days.
Scheringer had a network of paid recruiters across the country to help him entice new victims, prosecutors said.
After being sued by one of his victims, Scheringer's attorney Delmer Gowing joined in the scam, ripping off his own clients and representing himself as the general counsel and president of Supreme Oil. Gowing was sentenced to 22 years in prison in October 2010.
After Scheringer and Gowing were arrested and released on bail in 2005, they continued the scam. Scheringer did it over the phone when Gowing was in prison, unaware that the calls were recorded.
Victims of Scheringer and Gowing's fraud posted their tales on the website ScamVictimsUnited.com, sharing stories of being ripped off and demanding justice.
"This guy is as dangerous as any violent felon who walks the streets and the government is treating him like some casual criminal," one person wrote in 2006. "At the risk of sounding corny, this guy is an enemy of the state and we MUST make sure that he goes away for a long time."
Another one wrote in 2008: "I was in denial about these guys for 10 years and listened to their propaganda that anyone that cooperated with the 'feds' would not receive the 10 to 1, 100 to 1 payout 'once the money was released.' The only satisfaction we're going to see is getting these guys put away for a long time."
Judge Daniels also ordered Scheringer to forfeit nearly $24 million.
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