A Beverly Hills, California, investment adviser who admitted to bilking clients of more than $8 million was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for the fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In sentencing Michael McCready, U.S. District Judge George King called him a "thief" and said the bogus investment scheme "caused substantial, and in some cases, life-altering harm" to the affected clients.
McCready pleaded guilty in November to a securities fraud charge.
According to the Department of Justice, McCready, 46, operated a Ponzi scheme from 2004 to 2009, taking in more than $10 million from about two dozen clients on the premise that he would invest it in "safe, secure investments" including what he called a profitable private hedge fund.
Instead, McCready used the money to pay for his rent, vehicle leases and travel expenses; finance production of a movie; and develop businesses, the Justice Department said.
When the scheme collapsed, McCready's clients lost more than $8 million, according to the Justice Department.
In addition to the nine-year sentence, McCready was ordered to pay $8 million in restitution. He will begin serving his sentence May 17.