Michael Winans, the son of Michael Winans Sr. of the Gospel Hall of Fame Winans quartet, is facing 20 years in prison after recently pleading guilty to being involved in a Ponzi scheme that may have garnered $8 million from unknowing investors.
Last month, Winans Jr. was charged on allegations of defrauding over 1,000 victims who believed they were investing in crude oil bonds, according to The Detroit News. The 30-year-old reportedly told people that he represented the Winans Foundation Trust which was investing in the the bonds in Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
According to court records and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Winans began his scheme when he recruited 11 people as "shareholders" who would invest their bonds and then recruit others to do the same. While getting businesses involved in the processes, the money accrued by the investors would later be sent to the Winans Foundation Trust in a scheme that took place from October 2007 to September 2008 in Michigan, Arkansas and Georgia, the Detroit News stated.
Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney, recently released a statement about why it was important to bring justice to Winans.
"Investor fraud schemes like this one are just a fancy way to steal other people's money," McQuade said. "Anyone who robs citizens of their hard-earned savings will be brought to justice."
However Winans has also allegedly been involved in other schemes. The Detroit News also reports that Winans Jr. was also accused of fraud in 2010 when he scammed 180 investors out of $11 million at Genesis New Beginnings Church in Detroit.
In March 2010, state officials accused Michael Winans Jr. of an alleged fraud that targeted members of Genesis New Beginnings Church in Detroit. That scheme allegedly scammed 180 investors out of $11 million.
Kym L Worthy, Wayne County, Mich. Prosecutor, recently released a statement about the allegations brought up against Winans.
"Winans has allegedly fleeced many innocent people and betrayed their trust," Worthy said in a recent statement. "This is a significant step in bringing justice to his many victims."
Winans, a Jessup, Md., resident, will reportedly face his sentencing in a Detroit court on Feb. 27.