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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Judge gives Miami businessman, Gaston E. Cantens, five years for ponzi scheme



Before he became known as “Miami’s little Madoff,” Gaston E. Cantens was a respected real estate businessman and alumnus of West Miami-Dade’s elite Belén Jesuit Preparatory School. He was, as U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams put it Wednesday, “the embodiment of the American success story.”

The judge’s words came moments before she sentenced the 73-year-old convicted Ponzi schemer to five years in prison — the maximum possible under a plea deal Cantens reached with prosecutors earlier this year.

That sentence was a far cry from what Cantens had sought. Saying his ailing wife, Teresita, 75, needs him by her side, Cantens had requested a “lengthy term of home confinement.”

Williams, in making her decision, noted the couple has two adult sons, both of whom are “gainfully employed” and therefore capable of caring for their mother. One of those sons, Gaston I. Cantens, is a former prosecutor and onetime influential member of the Florida House of Representatives. He was not implicated in the scheme. Story here.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 5, 2012 1:11pm]


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