- Associated Press - Friday, September 8, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Relatives of a former Tennessee lawmaker who used Christian media to promote a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme based on the selling of gold and silver coins are going to prison.

Larry Bates, who served in the Tennessee House in the 1970s, was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison Tuesday. A federal jury previously convicted him, his two sons and his daughter in law of mail and wire fraud.

Hundreds of customers gave $87 million to their company, which had offices in Memphis and Boulder. Colorado. But the family failed to deliver coins and kept millions from the payments.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis says Bates’ sons, Chuck and Robert, were sentenced this week to more than 12 years. Robert Bates’ wife Kinsey received more than five years.

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