A man named Wayne D. Puff ran a big Ponzi scheme that was fueled by subprime mortgage free-flowing money and was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison, while ordered to pay out around $100 million to his victims. His was one of the largest real estate frauds in the history of New Jersey.
From 1998 to 2005, 1,200 investors nationwide gave hundreds of millions to his company and he was able to draw in investors through advertisements of guaranteed 15-20% in returns from his real estate business of buying, reselling and renovating.
From offices all over New Jersey, Puff worked with appraisers that pumped up the values of real estate and mortgage brokers that fudged applications. Properties got flipped to investors at incredibly high prices without them realizing it, costing them $55 million and sending hundreds of properties in New Jersey into legal hell.
Puff was arrested two years ago, though he only pleaded guilty last year with ten other co-conspirators. Tons of his investors, a lot of which were senior citizens, stated that most of their life savings were lost. When Puff appeared in court, he promised to repay every single one of his victims.