Redding Man Convicted in Huge Ponzi Scheme; Victims Unhappy with Sentencing
REDDING, Calif. - A Redding man involved in a $200 million ponzi scheme was sentenced Monday afternoon.
James Koenig, Jeff Guidi and Gary Armitage were arrested in 2009 for misleading investors, causing them to lose millions.
Guidi agreed to a plea deal in exchange for his testimony a few years ago. Koenig is currently on trial and Gary Armitage took a plea deal a few months ago.
Armitage took the plea deal, which is sending him to state prison for 10 years.
Almost every single seat was taken in the courtroom Monday afternoon. The room was filled with dozens of victims who came to see the man who stole thousands and thousands of dollars their hard-earned money and savings.
Each person was very vocal about how they felt about Armitage. Some even took the stand to say a few words.
One said Armitage "played them like a drum." Almost everyone agreed that their lives were shattered, forever changed.
Ron and Sandy Johnson, worked in the computer industry. They said Armitage convinced them to retire early and invest their savings. Little did they know, they would end up losing almost $2 million.
"The stress--we've shortened our lives considerably," Sandy Johnson said. "We don't enjoy life anymore. We don't know how. We're so afraid of spending money and it all happened at the same time our first grandchild was being born. Four so far and two on the way and well we thought we were going to treat them nicely. It's the grand kids that kept us going."
The Johnson's said they felt stupid and embarrassed when the scandal broke. They said they didn't even know how to survive.
Armitage was taken into custody after Monday's sentencing.
He will serve 10 years in state prison but will be eligible for parole in three years.
Many of the victims we spoke with said his sentencing is not enough and will not make up for what they have lost.
His restitution hearing is scheduled for August 26.