PONZI SCHEME: Ottumwa Man Sentenced

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

An Ottumwa man was sentenced to prison Thursday for stealing more than $ 1.1 million in a Ponzi scheme.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt says 52-year-old Francis Holtsinger received a sentence of 87 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion.

Holtsinger solicited and received funds from investors in the State of Iowa between 2005 and 2012.  Klinefeldt says Holtsinger told investors he would put the money into investment accounts, but instead, he used it for personal expenses and to pay back other investors.  He attempted to cover up the misappropriated funds by falsely informing investors that their money had been frozen by state or federal authorities.

Holtsinger also admitted he tried to convince his investors to lie to authorities on why they had given him the funds.  He told investors to describe the payments as “interest free loans” and not investments.  Klinefeldt says Holtsinger threatened that anyone who cooperated with law enforcement would not receive repayment.

In addition to his sentence, the judge ordered the federal sentence to be served consecutive to a five-year sentence Holtsinger received earlier on unrelated charges.  Also, Holtsinger must pay restitution in the amount of $948,239.67 and be on probation for five years following his release from prison.