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  • Kentucky man sentenced in money laundering scheme

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  • PEORIA — A Kentucky man was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Tuesday for money laundering in an investment scheme that prosecutors said defrauded dozens of people.
    Richard L. Hixon, 65, of New Concord, also must pay slightly more than $5 million in restitution to the more than 40 victims, including an East Peoria couple who was bilked out of $100,000.
    Hixon, who was indicted in June 2013, was accused of convincing the East Peoria couple to invest in his business, which bought and sold sea cucumbers and shark fins to customers in the Middle East and in Asia.
    Instead, it was a Ponzi scheme, in which money from some investors paid off others as a way to keep the scam going. Rather than use the money to buy more items, Hixon admitted he used the money to pay others and for his own business and personal expenses.
    In all, Hixon is accused of bilking the East Peoria couple and other investors out of $2.9 million from late 2009 through last year. The total restitution is higher because of the promised interest, and the legal costs incurred by some victims.
    He pleaded guilty in March as part of a deal that saw other counts of fraud and money laundering dropped.
    Chief U.S. District Judge James Shadid allowed him to remain free on bond until Nov. 11, when he must report to prison.

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