Tokyo-Vegas investment chief gets 50 years in Ponzi scheme

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The former head of a Tokyo and Las Vegas investment firm has been sentenced to 50 years in a U.S. prison for bilking thousands of Japanese victims in what prosecutors called a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed as offensive Edwin Fujinaga’s apologies for what prosecutors ranked among the nation’s largest-ever fraud cases.

She sentenced the 72-year-old on Thursday to what amounts to death behind bars.

The judge also ordered Fujinaga to pay nearly $1.3 billion in restitution, although a prosecutor conceded it might never be paid.

Navarro oversaw a trial at which a jury found the former head of MRI International Inc. guilty of 20 counts of fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Fujinaga’s more than 10,000 investors thought they were safely investing in a medical collections business.

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