The Orange County (Calif.) Register staffer Jeff Collins reports that real estate executive Michael J. Stewart was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of fraud stemming from the collapse of his firm, Pacific Property Assets.
The judge handed down the sentence despite the 68-year-old's lawyers arguing for a much shorter term.
PPA is accused of morphing into a Ponzi scheme as the real estate market cratered eight years ago. Collins writes that nearly 650 mostly elderly investors lost $169 million. Lenders lost another $24 million