Keith Simmons is not a household name. His Ponzi scheme, which was uncovered in 2009, cost his victims more than $35 million, a much smaller figure than, say, the $20 billion fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff (which came to light five years ago Wednesday) or R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion scam.
But his conviction was notable outside of North Carolina, where he was prosecuted and received a 50-year prison sentence, one of the longest for a white-collar crime. That number tied him with convicted Ponzi schemers Scott Rothstein and Tom Petters for the 10th-longest prison sentence imposed on a white-collar criminal, according to a search of news releases, court records and other news sources.
He may lose his place in the Top 10, however, following a decision by the Fourth U.S. Court of Appeals Wednesday to chuck part of his conviction related to money laundering charges, which were tied to his payments to investors and added 10 years to Mr. Simmons’s prison term. Mr. Simmons will have to be sentenced again by a federal district judge.