A Boca Raton businessman has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for running a $44 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded dozens of investors.

A federal judge also sentenced Michael Riolo on Friday to three years of supervised release.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty in July to five counts of mail fraud. Each charge carried a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Federal prosecutors say Riolo told more than 80 clients that he was investing their money in the foreign currency market. Instead, authorities say the money went to Riolo's personal use and to pay earlier investors.

Riolo's attorney, Bart Houston, on Saturday called the sentence "outrageous" and said the prosecutors had recommended a lower sentence.

Houston said Riolo would appeal.