Southern California

SoCal Investor Headed to Prison For $12M Ponzi Real Estate Scam

Federal prosecutors say a Southern California real estate investor has been sentenced to six years in prison for running a $12 million Ponzi scheme.

Francisco Plascencia Esparza pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud. The 46-year-old was sentenced in Orange County on Tuesday and ordered to pay restitution to his victims.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Esparza duped about 70 hopeful investors by falsely promising to use their funds to acquire real estate. Prosecutors say instead of investing, he used the money to pay off prior investments. They say he also bought a home and luxury cars and paid for vacations and a wedding. 

Officials say some of the victims lost retirement funds.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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