A 57-year-old man was sentenced Friday to a year in jail for his part in a $52 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 people.

Orange County Superior Court. Photo by John Schreiber

Mark Sostak pleaded guilty last November to two felony counts of making a false statement or omission in connection with a purchase or sale. Multiple other felony counts were dismissed Friday as part of the plea deal, which included a four-year cap on time behind bars.

Five other co-defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.

Robert Waldman, 54, who was sentenced to six months of home confinement, finished doing his time in custody and was released Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to knowingly selling an unregistered security, and several other felony counts were dropped.

Co-defendants Jonathan Carman, 52, and Scott Yard, 54, pleaded guilty in December to multiple felonies, including grand theft and making an untrue statement related to a purchase or sale.

Carman, scheduled for sentencing Sept. 18, is expected to get 12 years in prison, and Yard, scheduled for sentencing Sept. 8, is expected to get six years, according to Assistant Attorney General Michael Whitaker.

Lambert Vandertuig, 57, pleaded guilty Nov. 20 to more than 80 felonies, acknowledged multiple sentencing enhancements for fraud and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals gave Vandertuig credit for 1,342 days behind bars.

Soren Svendsen, 50, pleaded no contest in January to unlawful sale of unqualified securities, and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 15.

While working for Irvine-based Carolina Development, the defendants sold $52 million worth of stock they said would be used to buy land and develop luxury resorts, Whitaker said.

Some land was acquired, but it was left undeveloped, while the defendants spent about $24 million on themselves, according to Whitaker, who said they falsely claimed that famed golfer Arnold Palmer was a partner.

Some of the victims were senior citizens who invested their retirement funds. To satisfy suspicious investors, the defendants paid some of them returns on their investment with money collected from newer investors, according to Whitaker.

— City News Service

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