By John Burton
FAIR HAVEN – A borough man, who while working as a financial planner and bilked customers of about $9.8 million, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in state prison.
Maxwell B. Smith, 73, was sentenced in Superior Court in Morris County to 15 years with parole ineligibility of five years for first-degree money laundering, according to the state Office of the Attorney General.
According to authorities, Smith operated a Ponzi scheme under the guise of Health Care Financial Partnership Direct Municipal Loans, through which he convinced clients their money was being used as loans to health-care facilities, such as nursing homes. The company didn’t exist and Smith used the money for his personal use and to pay interest on earlier investments.
Smith pleaded guilty to the money-laundering charge on Nov. 18, 2009.
He pleaded guilty to a federal charge of mail fraud and was sentenced on June 5 to a seven-year prison term, which will run concurrent to the state prison term, authorities said.