For four years, Keisha Williams convinced more than 50 people to hand over their savings to invest in Austrian healthcare software she said she had purchased, but still needed to pay taxes and fees on in order to get it out of "escrow." Authorities say she promised would-be investors huge returns. But in reality, Williams put less than $300,000 of investors' money toward the software. Most of the more than $5 million she raised instead funded her lavish lifestyle. On Friday, the Virginia 43-year-old was sentenced to over 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to 14 fraud-related charges, the Washington Post reports. She insisted at her sentencing, "I believe I am a good person who made some bad choices," per the Metro. Reporting on Williams' arrest last year, Fox 5 DC listed some of the victims, including a 71-year-old cancer survivor who gave up her $250,000 inheritance.
Meanwhile, Williams was staying at five-star hotels and resorts around the world with her girlfriend. She was also buying high-end cars and other goods including an $1,800 leather portfolio. And she pulled four people into the scheme, including a 70-year-old businessman who agreed to partner with her and sunk $1.4 million of his own money (plus some from his girlfriend, ex-wife, and a business mentee) into the scam; he admitted lying to several victims about how the money was being used and when it would be paid back, but said he believed Williams would ultimately reimburse investors. He and a woman who played a similar role were both sentenced to probation, and two former air marshals who pretended to be federal agents to pressure people for Williams were also sentenced, one to prison and one to probation. Much more at the Post. (A "psychic" convinced five clients to hand over $341,000.)