Enjoy live music, open bar and tastings from the area's best restaurants at the first ever Best of Greater Williamsburg Event! Get your Early Bird Tickets today!

Williamsburg woman sentenced in $1.1m Ponzi scheme

A Williamsburg woman was sentenced Monday to 60 months in prison for embezzling over $1.1 million through a Ponzi scheme she orchestrated.

Patricia Means, 70, embezzled money from over a dozen victims, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1,136,862.32 in restitution to victims and to the IRS.

Means pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on June 13. Means, a retired investment broker, developed her scheme in February 2009, according to the release. 

She raised funds for developing a "purported product" called the "Savvy Bag," a purse organizer. Means had a seamstress make a prototype, made a website, applied for a patent and produced marketing and other lengths "to make the investment appear plausible."

Between 2009 and 2015, Means embezzled over $1.1 million from would-be investors, the release said. Some of those whom she embezzled were friends.

"The majority of the victims who invested their hard-earned savings were retirees or approaching retirement," the release said.

Means spent over $900,000 on housing, casino trips, vehicles and other personal items. 

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette
81°