Ponzi scheme sends former businessman to prison

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 02:59 PM

ASHEVILLE — A former Asheville businessman accused of running a Ponzi scheme that cheated investors out of more than $13 million over a decade has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (http://avlne.ws/YFllOT ) the sentence for James W. "Bill" Bailey Jr. came down Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Prosecutors say the 65-year-old Bailey took money from investors and paid returns with money from subsequent investors instead of from actual profits.

The government said Bailey led investors to believe that their money was in an account held by Southern Financial Services, which he operated. Instead, prosecutors said he commingled funds from other frauds to buy the properties.

Bailey must forfeit 12 properties he owns and funds in five bank accounts as part of his deal with federal prosecutors.