Man gets 15 years for $33 million investment fraud scheme

MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for a $33 million Ponzi scheme.

A U.S. Department of Justice news release says 44-year-old Navin Xavier was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty in January to two counts of wire fraud. A restitution hearing is scheduled for July 14.

Court documents show Xavier operated Miami Gardens-based Essex Holdings from 2010 to 2014. The primary scheme involved Xavier raising more than $30 million from nearly 100 investors for sugar transportation, as well as iron ore mining in Chile. Xavier showed investors false financial statements and forged documents while he and his wife spent the money on jewelry, vehicles, wedding expenses and cosmetic surgery.

An FBI spokesman says many of the scheme's victims live in Alabama and South Carolina.