Colo. man sentenced to 12.5 years for Ponzi scheme

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A former stockbroker accused of running a $21 million Ponzi scheme from his suburban Denver home for 15 years has been sentenced to 12.5 years in federal prison.

The Denver Post reports that About 30 victims packed the courtroom yesterday when U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger sentenced Shawn Merriman. He had pleaded guilty to defrauding at least 67 investors.

Authorities say Merriman promised investors returns of 7 to 20 percent, but spent the money on himself. They say Merriman, a former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, used the money to take safari trips and buy antique cars and artwork.

Most of his victims were fellow Mormons, neighbors or friends of friends.