Henry Meyer says he’s not a con man.
That’s what he told the court Wednesday, when a Chicago federal judge sentenced him to more than five years in prison for defrauding his friends and family out of millions in a Florida-based scheme, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Meyer, 47, pleaded guilty in October to mail fraud.
Meyer convinced family and friend to invest their money in the “European Derivative Investment Program,” a sham program that he claimed was related to the failure of the economies of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain, according to court documents.
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He assured investors the program would produce 600 percent returns, and the U.S. Federal Reserve and European governments were involved, authorities said.
But Meyer never sent any money to Europe, a federal complaint said. And Meyer knew all along what he was doing, authorities said. He had written down an escape plan, titled “Battle Plan,” to flee to a country without an extradition treaty to avoid being captured, according to court documents.
Instead of investing the money like he promised, federal prosecutors say Meyer used the money on expensive clothes, restaurants, hotels and his rent, and to pay down his American Express bill, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He also splurged on dermatology treatments.
Meyer’s parents lost more than $1 million in the scheme, the Chicago Daily Herald reported. Their business partners in a suburban Chicago company were defrauded out of almost $3 million. Meyer also scammed other relatives and a friend, authorities said.
Meyer was ordered Wednesday to pay $6.5 million in restitution, the Daily Herald reported.
Meyer said in court that he’s “very sorry” and he “always believed in my strategy,” the Sun-Times reported. But Judge Charles Norgle apparently found Meyer's apologies insincere.
“You’re getting yourself deeper and deeper,” Norgle reportedly said. “Your nose is getting longer as we proceed.”
The newspaper reports that Meyer's parents helped pay his legal bills.