MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A South Florida business man who defrauded hundreds of investors, including a well-known Catholic prep school in Miami, out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to five years in prison.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams imposed the maximum possible sentence on 73-year-old Gaston Cantens.

Prosecutors say the mostly elderly victims lost as much as $20 million through a Ponzi-like scheme in which Cantens paid older investors with money from newer ones. Many of the victims were members of Miami’s Cuban-American community. One investor was Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, which has roots in Cuba. Others were Roman Catholic priests.

Cantens had sought house arrest so he could care for his ailing wife. His attorney says Cantens was trying to save a failing business and never intended to defraud anyone.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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