FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A businessman from Colleyville who fled to Greece after pleading guilty to running a Ponzi scheme has been returned and sentenced to more than 17 years in a U.S. prison.
A federal judge in Fort Worth also ordered 34-year-old Christopher Blackwell to repay about $8.6 million.
Investigators say Blackwell, who was arrested last April on the Greek island of Corfu, ran the scheme from 2007 to mid-2011. He was indicted on two counts of wire fraud before being arrested in Phoenix. Authorities say Blackwell pleaded guilty but fled before sentencing.
“After pleading guilty to his Ponzi scheme that cheated dozens of people out of more than $8 million, Mr. Blackwell hoped that he could hide from punishment by fleeing to Greece,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas. “However, by working closely with our worldwide HSI attaché offices, and the Hellenic National Police, we used the ‘long arm of the law’ to bring Mr. Blackwell to justice.”
Prosecutors say Blackwell defrauded dozens of people by using their money for his personal benefit and to repay previous investors.
He was sentenced Wednesday.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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