NEW YORK – A former New York restaurateur who ran a $12 million Ponzi scheme involving a fictitious wholesale liquor business has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Hamlet Peralta said he was "deeply sorry" for what he'd done as he was sentenced Friday in a Manhattan federal court. The former owner of the Hudson River Cafe pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Peralta got investors to put up money for the phony liquor business. They say he used the funds to pay for spas and other personal expenses, to renovate his struggling Harlem restaurant and to repay other investors.
Action U.S. Attorney Joon Kim says Peralta "deceived investor after investor through bald lies and forged documents, enticing them with high returns on investments he never made."