Notorious scamster Antoinette Hodgson was sentenced to six years in prison by the Manhattan Federal Court recently for her infamous real estate Ponzi scheme. The sentence was passed by U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet. In addition to her prison term, Hodgson has also been asked to forfeit an amount of $45,000,000 by Judge Sweet. It is expected that an order of restitution exceeding $17 million will also be once victim losses have been completely accounted for.
Hodgson from New Jersey swindled $45 million by fraudulently soliciting investments from more than 20 real estate investors in New York and New Jersey. The scam was operated for four years, from 2006 to 2010 during which time she falsely claimed to be a foreclosure guru who owned dozens of homes. She would approach wealthy investors, entice them to make investments and promise lucratively high returns. In short, the scam involved making fast cash by flipping properties where Hodgson would buy and/or renovate residential properties, and subsequently re-sell them to third party buyers. At one time, she got an investor to shell out $4 million promising a 30% return.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara commented, “Through her massive Ponzi scheme built on the false promise of large returns, Antoinette Hodgson destroyed the financial security of dozens of people, all so that she could live a comfortable life and indulge a penchant for gambling, using other people’s money. The substantial sentence imposed on her sends yet another message that such conduct will be punished severely.”
Most of the money acquired by Hodgson through fraudulent means was used to repay earlier investors. In addition, she splurged a part of the money on extravagant excursions to Casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Then, a chunk of the money was given to family and friends and she also used $700,000 to buy a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Arizona.
Earlier this year, in September, Hodgson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. At this time, she was ordered to forfeit $5 million, along with her stake in the 24 properties she bought over the course of the scam and the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise.
The acting head of the FBI’s New York office, George Venizelos, was not too impressed with Hodgson’s brazen scheme for misappropriating funds said during the course of the trial, “Antoinette Hodgson allegedly has already proved she’s a lousy gambler by losing the investor’s money in the casinos. She has now gambled with her future and faces serious charges for a plot of her own making.”