Carlsbad's Sunil Sharma was sentenced today (September 14) to 33 months in prison for running a Ponzi scheme. He had raised $8.36 million from 32 companies through his companies, Gold Coast Holding and Safe Harbor Tax Lien Acquisitions.
He told the investors he would put their money in diversified portfolios, managed by Wall Street's Goldman Sachs, that would invest in bonds of emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India, and China. (Actually, such bonds have not proved to be that safe.)
However, he was using investors' money to day-trade stock options — a very risky business. When his returns shrank, he began pulling a Ponzi, paying off early investors with funds from later ones. He put $700,000 of investor funds into a $2 million home and also diverted some to a Mediterranean cruise and leases on a Mercedes and a BMW.