Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:36 a.m.
An Orange County con artist, who posed as a wildly successful investor to lure $25.7 million mostly from Christians, received a 97-month prison sentence this week inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.
U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna gave a handcuffed Jon G. Ervin the news and asked if wanted to make any statement.
"I'm fine," a solemn Ervin replied before a U.S. Marshal took him away.
In 2008, FBI agents busted Ervin's ponzi scheme that used his Mission Viejo-based Safevest, LLC and a Christian minister, Assemblies of God Rev. John V. Slye, to lure investment from more than 550 people who were led to believe they'd earn high rates of return, according to court records.
Among the fake props used were password protected accounts for the victims that seemingly recorded the profits of the investments.
In reality, the computer recordings were imaginary.
Ervin funneled large sums of the money to family members and bought an expensive automobile, a home, restaurant meals, artwork, airline tickets, amusement park fees, groceries and clothes.
He also used the money to fund other questionable businesses and hired a white collar criminal defense lawyer.
According to the FBI, Ervin--who was born in 1947--even used the money to try to purchase Jones Creek Golf Club and International Golf Academy in Evans, Georgia.
The judge declared that Ervin's current financial plight coupled with a massive victim pool makes it "impractical" to require him to pay restitution.
Selna also told the white collar crook that he will undergo three years of supervised probation upon his return to society and must use only one bank account that is open to routine government inspection.
He is banned from engaging in any future employment gigs relating to investments or telemarketing.