A member of gospel music’s Winans family has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for an $8 million financial scam.
Prosecutors say Michael Winans Jr. sold fake Saudi Arabian 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 his personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 people are still owed $5 million.
Winans eventually learned the bonds were phony but didn’t tell investors and kept collecting money. Two of Winans’ victims spoke in Detroit federal court Wednesday, saying the scheme devastated families. 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.