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Edward Stein, Architect of $46 Million Hedge Fund Ponzi Scheme, Sentenced to 9 Years

Hedge Fund Ponzi SchemeEdward T. Stein, a former hedge fund manager, was sentenced to nine years in prison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for a Ponzi scheme which defrauded investors of $46 million, according to Business Week. Stein was arrested last April and pled guilty last June to counts of securities fraud and wire fraud.

Stein was alleged to have operated a Ponzi scheme from 1988 to 2009, targeting friends, acquaintances and vulnerable investors. The government alleged that Stein promised to invest clients’ money in annuities but instead converted the monies to his own use. Stein managed Gemini Fund I hedge fund, Prima Capital Management Corp., and DISP LLC, a firm which invested in life insurance policies. Stein, through Gemini, invested in fashion magazine publisher Detour Media Group, Inc., and used money from new investors with Gemini to repay selected clients. In all, some 83 investors were affected by the scheme. Stein used his gains to, among other things, purchase a $1 million apartment in Manhattan.

Stein, who is 60, faced up to 19 years in prison, however U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein found that the circumstances of the scheme placed it outside the “heartland” of fraud cases. Judge Weinstein stated that Stein’s age made it unlikely that he would commit any further crimes. Stein’s counsel had argued for a reduced sentence based on Stein’s assistance to authorities in locating assets.

Several of Stein’s victims testified at the hearing. One called Stein “a money-hungry, evil, sly fox who preyed on seniors.” Stein offered an apology for his actions in his address to the court.

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