The 74-year-old teacher worked nearly four decades, regularly contributing to her 401(k) and 403(b) retirement funds.

When she retired, she had nearly $850,000 in savings. Then John Piccarreto Jr. convinced her to gradually take most of it for investment in what turned out to be a sprawling Ponzi scheme.

“I lost most of my money,” she wrote in a letter that prosecutors wielded at Piccarreto’s recent sentencing for fraud crimes. “I lost most of my money. Now I panic and live in fear of need medical or home emergencies and not able to afford it. I can’t enjoy time with family and grandkids due to lack of money.”

Former U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. earlier announcing guilty plea of Perry Santillo, who conspired with John Piccarreto Jr. in a Ponzi scheme.

Piccarreto, 38, was one player in a massive fraud scheme that bilked hundreds of investors out of millions of dollars. Sentenced this week to 84 months in federal prison, he and other co-conspirators in the fraud have been ordered to pay almost $20 million in restitution.

“The victims’ stories are heart-wrenching, with accounts of economic devastation, loss of independence, upended lives, sleepless nights, destroyed trust, overwhelming anger that will not abate, and general feelings of desperation, shame and sadness,” prosecutors wrote in court papers about the Ponzi scheme. “A substantial number of the victims are elderly retirees whose lifetime of hard-earned savings were stolen, and who can no longer provide for…

Read more…