James Duncan, who both masterminded the $142 million real estate and investment fraud that rocked Riverside County and who then cooperated with prosecutors to obtain convictions against his former colleagues, has had this plea-bargain sentence imposed.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michele Levine ordered Duncan to serve 19 years and eight months in state prison after accepting the recommendation of Chief Deputy District Attorney Vicki Hightower.
Duncan must also pay $3.4 million in restitution to 33 victims, who lived in several states.
James Duncan acted as a central witness in the trials of his former business partner Hendrix Montecastro and Montecastro’s mother Helen Pedrino in what prosecutors described was a massive Ponzi scheme. Montecastro and Pedrino have filed motions for new trials following their convictions.
Previous guilty pleas and sentences have been imposed on Maurice McLeod, a top associate, Charlie Sung Choi, Cindi Grace Kelly and Thuan Nhan Du.
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.