A prominent South Florida businessman has been sentenced to five years in prison for a real estate scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors, including a well-known Roman Catholic prep school.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams imposed the maximum possible sentence on 73-year-old Gaston Cantens. Prosecutors say the mostly elderly victims lost as much as $20 million through a Ponzi-like scheme in which Cantens paid older investors with money from newer ones.
Many of the victims were members of Miami's tight-knit Cuban-American community. One investor was Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, which has roots in Cuba. Others were Roman Catholic priests.
Cantens had sought house arrest so he could care for his ailing wife. His attorney says Cantens was trying to save a failing business and never intended to defraud anyone.