Gospel performer Michael Winans, Jr. was sentenced to 13 years for running an $8 million Ponzi scheme.
He was also ordered to pay his victims–some 1,200 investors–$4.8 million in restitution.
His scheme did the direct opposite. People tricked by Winans convinced family members to pay into the scheme. Homes and college tuition money were lost. Tina Hurt, one of his victims, said that many marriages and relationships have been destroyed because of Winans.
Read a detailed report on our sister site NewsOne.
Winans, 30, is a third-generation member of one of gospel music’s first families. He’s the grandson of Delores “Mom” Winans and David “Pop” Winans Sr., and the son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, a quartet of brothers. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral.
Winans has performed with his cousins as Winans Phase II. He released his own album in 2011, “My Own Genre.”
Winans relied on unwitting friends to round up investors, a trait of a classic Ponzi scheme. When the bonds turned out to phony, investors angrily turned on the people who recruited them.
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