A northern New Jersey man who orchestrated a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that took in more than $50 million from 200 victims has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

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David Connolly of Watchung was also ordered Tuesday to pay more than $18.7 million in restitution and forfeit $9,920,000.

Connolly had pleaded guilty in February to securities fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors say he told victims their money would be used to buy specific properties that would generate rental income returned in monthly distributions.

The investment properties lost money, but Connolly continued to tell investors they were performing well. He hid his fraud by taking money provided for specific real estate transactions and secretly using it for other purposes.

The scheme collapsed when Connolly defaulted on some mortgage payments.


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