Member of Winans gospel singing family charged with operating $8M Ponzi scheme
Michael Winans Jr. plans to plead guilty, defense attorney William Hatchett said Thursday.
Winans knew the Saudi Arabian oil bonds weren't real, but he continued to accept money from more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008, according to a filing this week in Detroit federal court.
He recycled the money among investors, a trait of Ponzi schemes, and also used cash for his personal use, the government said.
Michigan regulators in 2010 said Winans Jr. used connections in Detroit churches to lure investors.
"My client has told me it is his full intention to repay or somehow put these people back to where they were before they became involved," Hatchett said.
Winans is a third-generation member of one of gospel music's first families. He's the grandson of Delores "Mom" Winans and David "Pop" Winans Sr., and son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, a quartet of brothers. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral.
"There are no other members of this great family implicated or involved in any fashion," Hatchett said. "This is a very difficult time for this bright and gifted young man. His family stands beside him and they intend to see him through this."
He said Winans likely would make a court appearance within 10 days.
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