Clev. woman pleads guilty in $60 M Ponzi scheme

Cleveland, OH (WOIO) - The woman accused of bilking over $60M bucks from investors in court Thursday morning.

Joanne Schneider pleaded guilty to 13 counts of money laundering and security fraud and was sentenced to just three years behind bars. She faced a possible maximum sentence of 119 years in prison.

The 67-year-old engaged in a massive real estate scheme over many years where she bilked $8M dollars from investors.

The money was used to fund her real estate development projects, including the largest undertaking, the $60 million Cornerstone Project.  The Cornerstone Project was to be a Main Street-style entertainment complex, complete with shopping, dining, entertainment, and apartments, that would replace an abandoned supermarket on W. 130th Street.

Sales of promissory notes for the complex were generated by word-of-mouth by Schneider and people who had done or were currently doing business with her and her husband.

Needless to say, victims bilked out of their life savings are livid at the light sentence.

From the Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) - A woman convicted of scamming investors apologized while being sentenced in Cleveland to three years in prison.

Prosecutors called 67-year-old Joanne Schneider's operation a Ponzi scheme, in which investors are paid using funds that come from new investors. She pleaded guilty Thursday to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and other charges.

Before she was sentenced, Schneider, of the Cleveland suburb North Royalton, said she didn't mean to hurt the investors and tried to get their money back.

She was accused of costing investors an estimated $60 million, parts of which went to a failed real estate development.