Michael Winans Jr., who was convicted in February for running Ponzi Scheme that left dozens of his victims in financial ruin, is now asking the public for donations to pay his legal team.
Fox 2 News Detroit reporter Rob Wolchek reports he watched Winans admit in court to stealing millions of dollars from people. But, in a Vimeo video released four days ago, the gospel singer from the internationally celebrated Winans family said that “there are numerous stories out there that claim I stole millions of dollars from innocent people. That is not true.”
Federal prosecutors and a judge disagreed.
Winans was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding more than 1200 investors. He was also ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution to his victims. Many of his victims said the singer used his Christian faith and family name to take advantage of them.
In the newly released video, Winans claims, however, that he has returned 80 percent of the restitution money to his victims. Moreover, he says “Much of the money that was collected by others that was supposedly going to me never even came to me. I didn’t even get the money.”
His victims disagree. One of them referred to Winans as the “Silver Tongue Con-man,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
“We’ve experienced turmoil,” Tina Hurt, one of his victims said, according to the Free Press. Calvin Jackson Jr., another victim, said there were “so many death threats to my life” from people who wanted their money back.
“I trusted him.”
Now, Winans wants you to trust him–with your money. Again.
And, oh yeah, Michael has a new song for you: “My side of the story.”