Trial Continues in Case Against Real Estate Firm Co-Owner Accused of Ponzi Scheme

The trial of a Phoenix man accused of setting up a real estate Ponzi scheme during the Great Recession continued in Santa Ana on Tuesday.

According to federal prosecutors who spoke with jurors at court, Michael J. Stewart—a co-owner of a real estate firm based in Irvine and Long Beach—set up the Ponzi scheme to pay off old investors while continuing to recruit new ones for a plan to flip distressed apartment buildings during the Great Recession’s housing collapse.

Stewart’s attorney told jurors that in fact his client was innocent and thought his plan was financially prudent because homeowners who lost their property in foreclosure would need to rent apartments.

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Rachel Dollar

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