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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. 

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