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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Highland Park man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with a Ponzi scheme he ran with his son and daughter that bilked investors out of $10.7 million.
Roy Fluker Jr., 56, was arrested in Florida, where he had fled after he missed court for sentencing last December, prosecutors said. Back in Chicago, he was sentenced late Thursday by U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman.
Fluker’s son, Roy Fluker III, 31, of Walled Lake, Mich., was sentenced to eight years in prison by Feinerman Aug. 16. Fluker’s daughter, Ronnanita Fluker, 34, of the Detroit suburb that is also called Highland Park, was also sentenced to eight years in December by trial Judge David Coar.
Between 2005 and 2008, the Flukers took about $18 million from victims, and some victims’ homes, when they persuaded the victims to invest in their “Spend and Redeem Program” at their companies, More Than Enough LLC and Locust International LLC.
The Flukers told participants they would receive 25 percent of their total investment every month for a full year, for a 200 percent profit. They also marketed a financial program called the “Housing Program,” in which they told homeowners they could reduce their mortgage payments and own their homes outright within five years, prosecutors said.
But the Flukers actually used the investments for themselves, and paid out Ponzi-type payments so as to maintain the false impression that the programs were possible and encourage victims to reinvest.
The Flukers targeted African-Americans exclusively for their scheme, and met most of their victims at Chicago area churches and hotels.
Millions of dollars obtained by fraud were paid back to investors, and losses totaled about $10 million when the scheme collapsed in 2006, prosecutors said. Banks began freezing accounts associated with the fraud, and the Illinois Attorney General’s office got about $3.4 million back for the victims.
But altogether, the victims are still out $7.3 million thanks to the Flukers’ scheme, prosecutors said.
In addition to the prison sentences, the Flukers were hit with $9 million preliminary forfeiture judgments and must pay $7,336,957 in restitution, prosecutors said.