- Associated Press - Friday, August 10, 2018

BOSTON (AP) - A former Massachusetts man convicted of running what prosecutors called a Ponzi-style scheme that defrauded 15 investors out of more than $6 million has been sentenced to five years in prison.

John William Cranney, who once lived in Belmont but now lives in El Paso, Texas, was also sentenced Thursday to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Prosecutors say from 2001 through 2012, the now 77-year-old Cranney solicited money from friends and business associates and told them he was investing it in a fund or a retirement plan he managed. He created shell companies that he named to sound like investment funds.

He spent the money on personal bills and to prop up his failing nutrition products distributorship.

The scheme collapsed when investors demanded return of their money.

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