Clovis man sentenced to 12 years in prison for running $24 million Ponzi scheme

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Seth Depiano pled guilty in March and agreed to pay $19.6 million in restitution to about 28 investors.

The scheme worked like this: Depiano lured real estate investors to give him money and invest in businesses that he controlled, including The Rental Group, US Funding and Home Services LLC, and Draymond Homes. He told investors the money would be used to buy rental property to be managed or renovated and resold. However, in many cases, Depiano did not own the properties he was promoting or falsely reported the occupancy rates.

Instead of buying property, Depiano would use investors' money for personal expenses, gambling, or to finance lawsuits and settlements from investors. He also paid investors "rental income," when the money actually came from other investors.

Depiano was also forced to hand over more than $700 thousand in cash from bank accounts and a $31 thousand baseball card collection.
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