A purported New Jersey real estate investor has been charged with leading a $200 million Ponzi scheme that initially targeted Orthodox Jews. Eliyahu Weinstein, 36, was listed in an indictment by a federal grand jury in New Jersey as using fake real estate investments to bilk investors. According to the Bloomberg News, he even schemed while out on $10 million bail in August 2010. One investor paid Weinstein $70 million for sham projects, including $5.4 million to buy a property for a project in Trotwood, Ga., a town prosecutors say doesn’t exist.
According to prosecutors, Weinstein repeatedly taunted investors who demanded their money and spent the stolen money on jewelry, art, cars, gambling and legal bills. Weinstein’s attorney told Bloomberg that he plans to plead not guilty. Weinstein has been charged with one count of conspiracy, 29 counts of fraud, two counts of wire fraud while on pretrial release, one count of bank fraud and 12 counts of money laundering. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on three of the counts. [Bloomberg]