Indiana businessman gets 5 years for Ponzi-style scheme

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A central Indiana businessman has been sentenced to a 5-year prison term after pleading guilty in a Ponzi-style scheme that cost dozens of investors nearly $1.5 million.

George S. Blankenbaker Jr. was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports the 56-year-old Westfield man pleaded guilty in April to two counts of federal wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Prosecutors say Blankenbaker, the president of Indianapolis-based Stevia Corp., orchestrated a Ponzi-style scheme in which he induced 100 investors to sink more than $11 million into his three companies. Thirty-four of those investors lost nearly $1.5 million.

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