71 Year Old Former Wall Street Trader Gets 5 Years In Prison For $20 Million Ponzi Scheme

A former Wall Street trader was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison on Tuesday for raising $20 million from investors and then spending the money on himself.

71 year old Paul A. Rinfret pleaded guilty last October to securities and wire fraud and was sentenced on Tuesday to 63 months in prisons. Rinfret defrauded investors using an entity he created called Plandome Partners, LP, from 2016 to 2019, according to Bloomberg

Rinfret was accused of selling limited partnership interests in Plandome while telling investors he was using their money to trade S&P futures contracts using a "proprietary algorithm". And there's your first warning sign. 

Rinfret (Photo: Daily Mail)

He used only a "small portion" of the money for investing, returned $8 million to previous investors, spent $30,000 on an engagement party for his son, rented a $50,000 Hamptons vacation home and bought $35,000 worth of custom kitchen cabinets with the rest. 

According to The Daily Mail, he spent "$170,000 on jewelry, watches and cars; more than $105,000 on wine and other alcohol; approximately $12,000 on cigars; and more than $130,000 at restaurants."

On top of that, he lost $3 million trading, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods commented: “Mr. Rinfret’s crimes were reprehensible. They were properly described as brazen.”

Rinfret went "full Madoff" and also sent fake monthly account statements that reported false returns to keep his investors from making withdrawals and to convince additional people to give him money.

Rinfret's public defender described him as  “genuinely remorseful” and said he had "lost everything", including his money and two of his three children who refuse to talk to him. His lawyer also said that his wife left him on the day of his arrest, which was also his 44th wedding anniversary.

Jennifer Willis, his lawyer, said: “He is a man who has been punished by the collateral consequences of his actions.”

Prosecutors argued for a 63 to 78 month sentence, despite this, telling the judge: “The defendant simply wanted to live a more extravagant life than he was already living and give that appearance to others. That’s it.”

Coincidentally enough, today also seems like a good day to remind people that, to this day, nobody has gone to jail for the 2008 housing crisis.