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“He’s getting a raw deal,” Bethany man sentenced to 17 years for million dollar Ponzi scheme

BETHANY, Okla. – A Bethany man is headed to prison after he was convicted of swindling more than $4 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme.

The investigation dates back several years.

In 2011, jurors convicted 50-year-old Brian McKye of securities fraud.

However, that verdict was overturned.

After a new trial last year, he was convicted again and is now scheduled to serve 17 years for the crime.

Federal prosecutors claim McKye operated without being a registered broker and defrauded 83 investors.

The scheme totaled $4.5 million based on bogus investments.

U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats said, “Promises were made up to 20 percent return on investment.”

But the money was not invested as advertised.

Instead, McKye used it for personal expenses and bills.

Officials say because of his actions, many elderly investors lost their life savings.

The indictment goes on to explain that McKye told investors, “Interest on their investment would be paid at a ‘guaranteed’ monthly rate of return. The investments were secured by real estate notes and were risk free.”

Authorities say McKye, “Did not invest the money from investors but used the funds to pay the ‘guaranteed’ return of earlier investors and to pay his own personal and business expenses.”

Daniel McKey, Brian’s brother, said, “He’s getting a raw deal.”

Daniel feels bad some investors lost their money, but says his brother did not get rich at their expense.

McKye said, “Anybody that knew him knew he wasn’t living an extravagant living with trips and summer homes.”

Still, Coates says there is a lesson to the story.

“If a deal sounds too good, it probably is,” said Coats. “Do your homework before investing money with anybody.”

McKye says he plans to appeal his latest conviction.

Prosecutors claim he didn’t act alone.

A second suspect, Joe Johnson, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

He’s currently serving a 10 years in prison.