Published: Feb 12, 2011 10:30 PM EST
Updated: Feb 12, 2011 7:31 PM EST

WEST PALM BEAHC, Fla. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme that scammed more than $14 million from hundreds of Haitian-American investors in South Florida and New Jersey.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced 37-year-old Ronnie Bass Jr. of Delray Beach on Friday and ordered him to pay nearly $4 million in restitution. Victims of the scam who invested with the Homepals Investment Club fear they may never see their money.

The attorney for Bass had aruged in court that his client should be sentenced to 10 years in prison since two others involved in the scheme received 5-year sentences.

Prosecutors argued that the others had cooperated with investigators and asked for a lenghty sentence.

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