A Jessup man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to defrauding investors of $8 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Michael Winans Jr., 30, recruited more than 1,000 people to invest in the Winans Foundation Trust, which he claimed was a Saudi Arabian crude oil venture, said the FBI in an Oct. 3 statement.
Victims lived in Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas and other states, according to federal court filings, and were told they could make $1,000 to $8,000 in 60 days.
The U.S. Attorney's office charged Winans, listed as a resident of the 10000 block of Guilford Rd. in Jessup, with defrauding investors "in classic 'Ponzi scheme' fashion" between 2007 and 2008, according to charging documents.
Winans allegedly took some of the $8 million he obtained from investors for his own personal use and also used it to recruit more investors, according to the charges.
The FBI, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs collaborated on the investigation, according to an FBI statement.
Sentencing will take place Feb. 27 at federal court in Detroit, reports Detroit News.