LONG ISLAND CITY — A Long Island City woman was sentenced Monday to three to nine years in prison for stealing more than $1.3 million from 30 people in a “Ponzi” scheme that cost some residents their life savings.
Between 2003 and 2008, Ibis Febles, 66, targeted the Latino community in Queens, with the help of her business partner Giancarlo Giuseppe, 69, who is still at large, according to the Queens DA. Individual victims lost between $5,000 and $50,000 in the scam, officials said.
Febles, who pleaded guilty in May to several charges, pretended to operate Buyersnet Real Estate Corporation, which promised above-market returns on bought and sold real estate -- but she never actually invested the money, officials said.
“Many of the victims of this scheme lost their entire life savings,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “I would therefore let this case serve as a warning to all investors to use extreme caution when promised a guaranteed and above-market return. Such high rates of return should immediately cause investors to raise an alarm."
The scheme collapsed in 2008 when Febles stopped making interest payments and refused to return the money to the investors, officials said. By the end of that year her business was closed.