SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) – The CEO of an Orange County-based mortgage services firm has been sentenced to over three years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked more than $6.7 million from more than two dozen investors.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says 59-year-old David Lee Hardin, Jr. was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution at his sentencing Monday.
Hardin pleaded guilty to mail fraud in March.
Hardin told investors that returns would be generated through home sales and fees from debt settlement services. In reality, prosecutors said, Hardin used a large percentage of the funds to make payments to earlier rounds of investors, in a pattern typical of Ponzi schemes.
Hardin is the CEO and majority shareholder of a group of companies including Covenant Mortgage, Covenant Marketing, Covenant Debt Solutions, Covenant Insurance, and HRE Mortgage.