GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A former Grand Rapids stockbroker has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for his role in a $6 million Ponzi scheme.

Martin Wegener learned his fate on Friday. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to mail fraud for sending falsified account statements to investors that said their money was growing, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell told Wegener the investors are “devastated because they believed” in him and “don’t trust anybody now.”

“You used your supposed integrity … to trick them into believing you were in fact the person you represented yourself to be. But you really weren’t, were you?” Bell said. “It appears that this is a crime predicated on lying and deceit and greed.”

The judge ordered Wegener’s immediate incarceration and said he hoped others who consider similar frauds recognize that consequences are “likely to be harsh… because it’s deserved.”

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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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