Peter Bakowski, 59, Tampa, Florida, the mastermind behind a $20 million mortgage fraud related Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 188 months (15 years, 8 months) in federal prison and ordered to pay $16.1 million in restitution.
According to court documents, Bakowski was a licensed mortgage broker at the time he perpetrated his scheme, misusing his credentials to sell the same mortgage to multiple victims. In order to keep the Ponzi scheme going Bakowski would pay returns to the preceding investors with money from new investors. More than 30 victims were affected, including investors and institutions, and more than 150 properties involved. Many of the investors were elderly.