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Winans scion faces prison for $8M fraud

Tuesday - 2/26/2013, 11:19am  ET

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Prosecutors are recommending at least 12 1/2 years in prison for a member of the Winans gospel music family who ran an $8 million scam involving phony bonds.

Michael Winans Jr. of Jessup, Md., is returning to Detroit federal court for his sentence Wednesday. He pleaded guilty in October.

Winans knew the Saudi Arabian oil bonds weren't real, but he continued to accept money from more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008. He promised 100 percent returns in two months, then used the money for his personal use or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 are still owed money.

Federal prosecutor Abed Hammoud says Winans "clearly abused the fact" that he was from a well-known family. Defense attorney William Hatchett says Winans accepts responsibility.

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