A former Henrico County police officer owes his victims more than $15 million

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A former Henrico County police officer convicted of running a real estate ponzi scheme owes his victims more than $15 million.  A judge set the amount at a restitution hearing in federal court today.

Federal Judge Henry Hudson said Tuesday, he hopes the victims will receive as much of their money back as the government can obtain for them.

But it appears that process will be easier said than done.

Donald Lacey will begin serving his 10 years, one month prison sentence next week. And Judge Henry Hudson said today it could be years before any of his victims are made whole.

Federal prosecutors say, in all, 136 people were scammed by Lacey. He took their money promising to buy fixer uppers in the city to sell for a profit.  But Lacey rarely used the money on the homes.

Millions went to his lavish lifestyle and to make the interest payments to other investors.

The government says there are still 105 properties in the city that were involved in the scam. Most of them are over-leveraged and have no equity.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in court it was weighing its options, considering foreclosing on the properties to try to re-coop some of the victim's money.

But in this economy, they said that the process could take years.

Federal accounts are keeping a close eye on Lacey's assets, trying to scrape together any money they can.

The judge asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to keep him apprised of the situation.

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