AUSTIN -- Two people have been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in a Ponzi scheme, which caused more than 100 investors to lose about $10.6 million.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Christopher Brown Cornett, 43, and Heidi Beryl Beyer, 49, were sentenced to 40 years and six years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks also ordered them to pay millions of dollars in restitution.
“Mr. Cornett and Ms. Beyer defrauded investors out of millions of dollars, and the sentences handed down [today] exemplify the consequences criminals face for such crimes. Investment schemes cause serious damage to victims, both financially and emotionally, and therefore demand serious punishments. My office is committed to bringing white collar criminals to justice, and today’s sentences are evidence of that commitment,” said United States Attorney Robert Pitman in a statement from his office.
In October of last year, Cornett pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Beyer pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
Court records show that from April 2008 to Oct. 2011, Cornett started the Ponzi scheme of taking money from investors under false pretenses. Beyer joined Cornett in Sept. 2009. The pair told investors that their money would be put into funds which would then be invested in foreign currency exchange trades. Cornett and Beyer would receive 25 to 30 percent of the profits.
This isn't the first time Cornett has been arrested for fraud. In 2003 he was sentenced to two years in federal prison after being charged with five counts of federal bank fraud.