DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A member of the gospel music Winans family has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for an $8 million financial scam.
Two of Michael Winans Jr.’s victims spoke in Detroit federal court Wednesday. One man said he lost more than $100,000, his truck and his friends, and even fell out with his family due to Winans’ actions.
Winans sold oil bonds to more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008. He promised 100 percent returns in two months then used the money for personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 people are still owed nearly $5 million.
Winans eventually learned the bonds were phony but didn’t tell investors and kept collecting money.
Winans apologized in court and asked for mercy. He said he did not intend to hurt anyone.
His attorney, William Hatcher, spoke with reporter outside the courtroom.
“We were hoping for no more than 10 years, but there’s still hope because there’s some other things that are going on in the case,” said Hatcher. “There’s a continuing investigation and we’ll see where that leads us.”
Winans is a third-generation member of one of gospel music’s first families. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral.
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