A $730,000 mail fraud turned in to a 48 month prison sentence for one Pella resident.
Beverly Joan DeRonde, was also ordered by the judge to pay over $680,000 in restitution.
DeRonde conducted a Ponzi scheme over a seven-year period beginning in 2003 soliciting funds with hand-written letters from family and friends by false pretenses.
The 61-year-old would ask for loans, supposedly for surprise birthday or anniversary presents for her husband or to purchase equipment for a boat repair shop. She promised large amounts of interest in return.
Nearly a dozen people filed legal action with one victim giving more than $268,000. In total, over 70 people fell victim.
DeRonde had admitted that she did not use the loan proceeds as represented but, instead, used the money to purchase antiques, jewelry, Rolex watches, and other consumer items. She also used loan proceeds to repay loans she previously had obtained from other individuals.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.