A federal judge has sentenced a Westfield businessman to five years in prison in connection with a Ponzi-style scheme in which he induced 100 individuals to sink more than $11 million into his companies.
George S. Blankenbaker Jr., president of Indianapolis-based Stevia Corp., pleaded guilty in April to two counts of federal wire fraud and one count of money laundering. On Wednesday, Judge Sarah Evans Barker also ordered him to three years of supervised release and pay $1.5 million in restitution.
In a separate action in April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that the Blankenbaker-controlled companies involved in the scheme had agreed to pay almost $5.2 million in a preliminary settlement. Blankenbaker also consented to an administrative proceeding barring him from the securities industry.
Blankenbaker, 56, who played football at Indiana University in 1983-84 as a business finance major, has operated several…