A notorious Ponzi schemer from Lakewood praised President Trump and his daughter Ivanka for springing him out of federal prison.

Several New Jerseyans who received pardons and a commutation in the final hours of Donald Trump's presidency expressed gratitude.

Trump granted 70 pardons with less than 11 hours to go in his term, four with New Jersey connections: former Ocean County GOP leader George Gilmore, Kenneth Kurson, Dr. Frederick Nahas.

One of his 73 sentencing commutations went to Eliyahu Weinstein, a Lakewood businessman convicted of defrauding real estate investors out of $200 million. For that, he was initially sentenced to 22 years in prison. But a federal judge later added 24 months after Weinstein, while under indictment for the real estate pyramid scheme, defrauded more victims who believed they were investing in Facebook stock.

Weinstein in a video posted by the Lakewood Scoop said he was grateful to be reunited with his wife and seven children after serving eight years of a 24-year sentence.

"I also want to thank the president himself for seeing the opportunity to help bring me back to my family and for giving me a second chance to be with them and for granting me this clemency. Thank you so much President Trump from me and my family from the bottom of our hearts," Weinstein says in the video.

He also thanked Trump's daughter for taking a personal interest in the case and he thanked his victims for the letters of support they wrote and vowed to "lead his life in the proper fashion."

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he was "disgusted" at the clemency.

"It's one huckster commuting the sentence of another. Both men have consumed far more of my professional life than I ever wanted, and I'm not going to spend more time thinking about them now," Grewal said on his personal Twitter account.

Gilmore, in a written statement, said Trump recognized the injustice of his conviction and "used the power of his office to right that wrong."

"I owe my life to the President, to Bill Stepien, and to Kevin Marino and his partners at Marino, Tortorella & Boyle, who worked relentlessly to achieve this just result. I am forever indebted to these special people, to everyone who supported my pardon application, and to my loving family, who stood by me throughout this entire ordeal," Gilmore said.

Nahas told the Cherry Hill Courier-Post that he thanked Trump and U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who had recommended the pardon.

Trump's statement about the pardon said Nahas has worked "tirelessly to regain the trust and admiration of his patients, colleagues, and community" for the past 18 years.

Nahas is a surgeon at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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