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The Associated Press September 20, 2011, 11:18AM ET

Man gets 6 years in Ponzi scheme targeting Koreans

An Irvine, Calif. businessman has been sentenced to more than 6 years in federal prison for operating an $8.5 million Ponzi scheme that targeted Korean-Americans in Orange County.

Federal prosecutors say 38-year-old Euirang Hwang was also ordered to pay $7 million in restitution on Monday.

Hwang, the founder of investment firm Pinupito, Inc., and his girlfriend Sang Yi were arrested last year by the FBI. Authorities alleged they promised investors high returns by telling them their firm bought small companies in Korea, grew them and sold them for a large profit.

Instead, the two spent the money on luxury car leases, personal expenses and returns to existing investors.

Yi, a South Korean national, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in January. She has not been sentenced.

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