A Pulaski businessman has been sentenced to 53 months (four years, five months) in federal prison for his part in a $2.4 million Ponzi scheme.

That man, Jason T. Castenir, was also ordered to pay $2,437,875.30 in restitution.

He will begin serving his prison sentence on January 1. After his sentence, he must serve three years of supervised released.

Castenir pleaded guilty in August 2017 to conspiracy to defraud, using interstate commerce to defraud clients and engaging in monetary transactions affecting commerce.

His co-defendant and business partner, Rodney Scott Phelps, was found guilty last year by a jury and sentenced to 108 months in prison.

Castenir and Phelps owned and operated a business called Maverick Asset Management LLC (MAM), which presented itself as an investment company.

According to prosecutors, the men were instead operating a Ponzi scheme, where some investors’ money was being used to make up payments to other investors. The men also took some money for personal use.

From 2012 through 2014, the men took money from investors around the country, including Washington, Ohio, Arizona and Nevada saying they were to obtain and oil concession from the government of Belize.

As stated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office after Phelps’ sentencing, “[T]hey used the money they raised for MAM operating expenses, to pay themselves, and to make Ponzi payments back to other victim-investors.

The duo also took money from investors from Tennessee, saying they were “successfully trading” in commodities markets.

“Phelps and Castenir invested roughly one-third of this money on commodities markets, losing almost all of it in short measure, but sent victims accounting statements detailing profits on their investments,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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