Thanh-Viet (Jeremy) Cao, a career criminal who was found guilty of running a massive Ponzi scheme last December, was sentenced today (May 16) to 360 months in federal prison -- one of the longest white-collar crime sentences in the Southern District of California. He will have three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $12.4 million in restitution.
Cao threatened his victims with extreme violence, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He told his victims that he had a long history of investment success, but in fact had a history of cheating clients. He told victims he was investing in real estate, mortgages, and certain financial transactions, but he spent much of the money on a $200,000 Bentley, numerous Vegas trips, and the like.
Cao cheated 190 victims out of more than $10 million, according to the U.S. attorney's office. In a separate case, Cao had threatened to torture and kill his business partner, along with the partner's wife and children.