Virginia woman, 70, gets 5 years in prison in Ponzi scheme

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A 70-year-old Williamsburg woman has been sentenced to five years in prison in what prosecutors say was a Ponzi scheme through which she swindled more than $1.1 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement that Patricia Means of Williamsburg was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering earlier this year.

The statement says Means, a retired investment broker, developed a scheme to raise funds for developing a handbag organizer. They say she then used investments from more than a dozen victims on housing, casino trips, vehicles and other personal items.

According to the statement, longtime friends of hers were among the victims.

Means was also ordered to pay restitution and was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

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