A judge sentenced a southern California woman to more than 12 years in prison Tuesday for orchestrating an $18-million scam that preyed largely on middle-class Black folks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Jeanetta M. Standefor, 40, pleaded guilty in September to operating a company that duped investors into believing they would earn profits by salvaging properties that were on the brink of foreclosure.
Standefor funneled some $14 million back to early investors and paid them fat profits to perpetuate the scheme, the Times reports. More than half of the 650 investors lost everything they put in, in some cases their life savings.
Standefor pocketed nearly $2 million over a two-year period, remodeling two homes, taking trips, attending sporting events and buying jewelry and luxury cars. "If that's not living large . . . I don't know what is," said Executive Assistant U.S. Atty. Stephanie Yonekura-McCaffery, who prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson told Standefor that even though she was convicted of a so-called white-collar crime, she was just as guilty as if she'd "taken a gun out and held it to the victims' heads."