Published: Jun 13, 2013 11:05 AM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida stock trader convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded dozens of investors has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
A Miami federal judge imposed the sentence Wednesday on 69-year-old George Elia of Fort Lauderdale. Prosecutors say about 50 investors lost some $10 million through Elia's scam, which involved stock trades he falsely claimed offered high rates of return.
In reality, evidence showed Elia was using newer investors to pay older ones. Elia used some investor money to buy a Rolls-Royce, two Bentleys and about $500,000 in jewelry.
Elia and his wife fled to Cyprus in 2012 after investors filed lawsuits. But he was arrested a few months later during a visit to Las Vegas. Elia's ex-partner James Ellis is also serving prison time.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)