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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A Ft. Lauderdale stock trader, who pleaded guilty for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded many investors, has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

According to prosecutors, George Elia, 69, offered stock trades he falsely claimed offered high rates of return. Elia’s scam caused approximately 50 investors to lose about $10 million.

On Wednesday, a Miami federal judge imposed the 12 year sentence on Elia, a resident of Ft. Lauderdale.

In reality, evidence showed Elia was using newer investors to pay older ones. Elia used some investor money to buy a Rolls-Royce, two Bentleys and about $500,000 in jewelry.

Elia and his wife fled to Cyprus in 2012 after investors filed lawsuits. But he was arrested a few months later during a visit to Las Vegas. Elia’s ex-partner James Ellis is also serving prison time.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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