Framingham man sentenced to more than 8 years for running $15 million Ponzi scheme

Richard Elkinson, a 78-year-old Framingham man who pled guilty to conducting a $15 million Ponzi scheme, was sentenced today to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

Elkinson pled guilty in April to 18 counts of mail fraud. According to the government’s case, he swindled more than 100 investors, by pretending to be a broker for a Japanese uniform seller and offering returns of 9 percent to 15 percent on promissory notes. The scheme continued from the early 1990s to the end of 2009.

Three victims gave statements in US District Court in Boston for his sentencing. Elkinson was ordered to serve 102 months in prison, more than the 97 months the government had recommended. He was also ordered to pay $17.1 million in restitution, plus an $1,800 special assessment. But it’s unlikely that Elkinson has the money. The government seized $43,353 from him after arresting him in 2010 at a Mississippi casino.

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Elkinson’s lawyer, a public defender assigned to people who cannot afford an attorney, did not return a call seeking comment.

Elkinson was first alleged to have taken $29 million from investors. But taking into consideration funds that were repaid to investors, using other clients’ money, victims lost about $15 million, the government found.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin in 2010 reached a deal to return $3.5 million to 17 of the victims, through a settlement with New England Securities Corp., which had brokers who referred business to Elkinson.

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