A former city alderman and junior hockey team owner has pleaded guilty to bilking investors out of millions via a ponzi scheme.
Willie Wise ran the $129.5-million scheme by selling fraudulent certificates of deposit to 1,200 people through various banking entities between 2004 and 2009.
Wise had been on the run from American authorities until he surrendered in April of this year.
He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion.
He is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 in a federal court in San Francisco where he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Wise is co-operating with the government to recover funds, his lawyer Paul Wolf told the Bloomberg news service.
“He is doing everything he can to make amends and put this right,” Wolf is quoted by Bloomberg.
Prosecutors said Wise and co-defendant Jacqueline Hoegel, who ran their investment office, sold $129.5 million in fraudulent certificates of deposit and promised a 16 per cent rate of return. They instead used investors' funds to pay off earlier investors and to make luxury purchases, including Wise's property on a Caribbean island, prosecutors said.