4 charged in Ponzi scheme enter guilty plea

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – Four people charged in a $15 million Ponzi scheme have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

The Johnson City Press (http://bit.ly/1bKT0S8) reports Brian C. Rose, Jason Smith, Dallas McRae and Hugh Sackett face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tennessee.

Prosecutors accused Rose of running the scam and ripping off 160 investors in four states who thought they were investing in coal mines. Rose opened Johnson City-based New Century Coal in 2011 and told investors it was running several coal mines and putting out-of-work miners back on a payroll in Kentucky.

Prosecutors say some mining operations were occurring, but nothing like what was promised to investors.