Michael Winans Jr. sentenced to 14 years in prison for $8 million financial scam

(AP) - A member of the gospel music Winans family has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for an $8 million financial scam.

Two of Michael Winans Jr.'s victims spoke in Detroit federal court Wednesday, saying the scheme devastated families.

Winans sold oil bonds to more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008. He promised 100 percent returns in two months then used the money for personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 people are still owed nearly $5 million.

Winans eventually learned the bonds were phony but didn't tell investors and kept collecting money.

Winans is a third-generation member of one of gospel music's first families. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral.

A telephone line and e-mail address have been set up by the FBI/United States Attorney's Office to collect information about potential victims. Individuals who believe they may have been a victim of the Winans Foundation Trust should provide their name, address, phone number and e-mail address to one of the following: e-mail: usamie.victimservices@usdoj.gov or toll free 1-888-702-0553.

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