San Diego woman pleads guilty to $ 400 million ponzi scheme

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SAN DIEGO (AP) – A San Diego businesswoman who officials say led a $ 400 million investment fraud scheme involving liquor licenses, pleaded guilty to federal charges on Wednesday .

Gina Champion-Cain has pleaded for conspiracy, securities fraud and obstruction of justice. She faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced in October.

Champion-Cain has been accused of defrauding more than 100 investors in the United States out of millions that she said would be used for high-interest loans to people seeking liquor licenses in California. Instead, she used some $ 60 million to support her other struggling businesses, including restaurants and a surf-themed clothing store, repaid early investors with money from newer ones in a classic Ponzi scheme and spent large sums on his salary and a luxury lifestyle. This included buying jewelry, cars, houses and box seats at the Padres and Chargers Games in San Diego, according to its plea deal.

No money was used for the alleged loans.

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