By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Main Line man who conned investors out of millions through a Ponzi scheme will be spending virtually the rest of his life in prison.
Judge Michael Baylson went beyond the sentencing guidelines and handed 57-year-old Robert Stinson a term of more than 33 years behind bars. Baylson says that Stinson engineered a massive rip-off, and noted that this was his fifth conviction for fraud.
“I think the judge saw what a danger this guy was to anyone with a checkbook, with a bank account and saw that he was a recidivist and was going to commit crime again if he had the opportunity to do so,” said Assistant US Attorney David Axelrod.
Axelrod says the Stinson’s phony hedge fund operation duped more than 250 investors.
“Investors thought that they were investing in mortgages that were being made to people with homes and they were guaranteed a 16 percent return on their investments. In reality the money was going straight to Bob Stinson, going to his family and other businesses that he set up and didn’t do much. But he had a pie-in-the sky idea that he was gonna make a lot of money on all these other ventures.”
The victims lost, in total, about $14 million dollars.