RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Michael Jenkins appeared before a judge Tuesday and pleaded guilty to running what prosecutors called a classic Ponzi scheme.
"I just didn't run a business. It was good intent - just got screwed up and got overwhelmed," Jenkins told the judge.
Prosecutors say Jenkins bilked 435 people out of $1.8 million between 2010 and 2012. He started out making small investments for friends, but wasn't licensed and quickly got in over his head. Before long, he wasn't investing at all.
"Mr. Jenkins used money from later investors to pay other investors," said special prosecutor Zesley Haislip.
Jenkins told the judge he will work to pay people back when his prison time is up. He was sentenced to 10 to 13 years. That was not good enough for at least this investor, who says he lost money in Jenkins scheme and spoke out in court.
"Given the resources we have, and the court resources, we felt that an active prison sentence in the Department of Corrections of 10 years to 13 years is a fair and just result for what Mr. Jenkins did," said Haislip.
Prosecutors say Jenkins was promising 30-160% investment returns monthly.
They say the old rule usually applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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