A North Carolina woman will serve at least ten years in state prison after pleading guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme that duped fellow churchgoers and art class acquaintances of at least $1.6 million. Angela Dawn Campbell, 42, was sentenced by Special Superior Court Judge Richard Stone to two consecutive 60-to-81-month sentences, which translates into a minimum of ten years and a maximum term of 14.5 years. Campbell currently owes more than $350,000 in restitution to her defrauded victims.
From 2009 to 2011, Campell befriended fellow churchgoers and members of art classes she attended, telling them she was operating an online brokerage and investment business. Victims that Campbell approached at church later told investigators that Campbell asked them to keep their investment quiet because she "didn't want to get over her head and have too many people coming to her." Investors were told that they could double or triple their investment, and Campbell also promised investors that they could request a withdrawal of their funds at any time.
However, in reality Campbell did not use investor funds to open online trading accounts; rather, she used investor funds for a variety of unauthorized purposes, including the payment of fictitious returns to existing investors and the withdrawal of funds at Atlantic City casinos. Campbell was arrested in February 2012 on twenty-two counts of obtaining property through false pretenses. As part of her plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop twenty of the charges in exchange for Campbell's guilty plea to two charges. As part of North Carolina's Structured Sentencing Act, parole was eliminated for crimes committed after October 1, 1984, and an offender must serve 100% of the minimum sentence and 85% of the maximum sentence.