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Minnesota Man Charged In $20M Investment Scams

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Twin Cities man with a prior fraud conviction has been indicted for running four investment scams that bilked investors out of more than $20 million.

The indictment unsealed Thursday alleged Michael Joseph Krzyzaniak, 62, lured investors into ventures that were never finished, including Internet terminals at airports, golf courses, a golf club resort in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., and a NASCAR-type race track in Elko, Minn.

Prosecutors said he convinced his victims to invest by lying — telling them their money would go to a specific project, saying each project was moving toward completion, and that he had celebrity endorsements. He also declined to tell investors that he had been convicted of fraud in 1993.

He allegedly spent more than $6 million of investors’ money to support his lavish lifestyle.

He was charged with 30 counts including mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

The Star Tribune reported that his victims include golf pro Phil Mickelson. Mickelson’s attorney declined comment for the newspaper, and was out of the office Friday and did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

The newspaper reported that Mickelson invested in the failed Desert Hot Springs project. The golf pro designed the golf course for the resort, but a judge stopped the venture after environmental groups raised concerns.

Krzyzaniak was ordered held until a bond hearing next week and was unavailable for comment. He was appointed a federal defender, but one wasn’t assigned by Friday morning.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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