BBC NEWS | 12/17/2009 12:00:00 AM
Colombia pyramid scheme mastermind jailed for 30 years
Dec 17--A Colombian man who ran a pyramid scheme that defrauded thousands of people of their life savings has received a 30-year jail term.
Murcia, who insists his business was legal, led the DMG Group, which promised returns of well over 100%.
Its collapse in November 2008 led to widespread street protests across Colombia by investors.
Sentencing Murcia to 30 years in prison, the judge also ordered that he be fined $12.5m (£7.7m).
It is expected that Murcia will soon face extradition to the US where he faces money-laundering charges.
Murcia was extradited from Panama to Colombia a year ago to face accusations that his business was a pyramid scheme that amassed millions of dollars and duped at least 200,000 Colombians out of their life savings.
The demise of DMG provoked protests both by those angry at the loss of their money and also by investors who insisted that the company was legitimate and that the government had forced its collapse.
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