The co-owner of a baseball bat company has been sentenced to a year in county jail for her part in a more than $3 million fraud that stung investors who included members of her church and an unnamed Major League Baseball player.
Investors believed they were buying stakes in Foothill Ranch-based God's Sports Co.'s prototype baseball bat, but married couple Kristi and Steven McKinlay used some of the newer money to pay back older contributors and other investments for such personal expenses as cars, their daughter's wedding, a luxury suit at Angel Stadium and rental of their homes in San Clemente and Coto de Caza.
The Ponzi scheme scammed more than 10 people, including the unidentified ballplayer, a family friend who came into money through a devastating personal injury and a cancer patient who wanted to secure an inheritance for his family.
Many who had invested from $22,500 to more $700,000 each "had been associated with the defendants through the church they attended," the Orange County District Attorney's office said at the time of the McKinlays' arraignments.
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Besides the jail time, Kristi McKinlay must serve 10 years of supervised probation as part of a plea deal with Orange County Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino that had the 57-year-old copping to more than 60 felony counts on Thursday.
As part of the same plea deal, Makino previously sentenced Steven McKinlay to five years in prison—over the objections of prosecutors, who said the couple could have received more than 23 years behind bars if they were convicted at trial.