Florida attorney gets 7 years for securities fraud scheme

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida attorney has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $19.7 million in restitution for securities fraud.

Court records show that 77-year-old James Schneider was sentenced Thursday in Miami federal court. He was convicted in December of multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. He must pay restitution to 2,156 investors, as well as forfeit $4.8 million.

Prosecutors said 11 other defendants also have been convicted in the pump-and-dump scheme: Schneider's role was to author fake legal opinion letters to create 20 shell companies; investors then spent millions for shares of the companies from 2008 to 2013.