Oscar Black, a 58-year-old cattle rancher outta Weatherford, offered folks a pretty good deal: If you were to give him some of yer money, well, he'd invest it for ya -- to the tune of 12 percent in annual returns, hot damn. Only, there was one problem: Black, who owned OB Cattle till it was auctioned off to pay old debts two years ago, was in no position to make that kind of an offer. So, instead, he pocketed folks' hard-earned and put the dough into his ranch.
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Which worked out OK for a while, from about 2004 till '06, as Black, who was also a director of the First National Bank of Weatherford, paid back his investors out of the ranch's profits. He even mailed his unintentional backers phony monthly account statements, showing folks that their investments were earning interest and then some. But soon as the ranch started losing money, well, the game was up: Black had defrauded investors of more than $3 million and two banks of more than $3.5 million, and he was in front of the feds pleading guilty to mail fraud in May 2008. One year later, says the U.S. Attorney's Office today, he was back in Dallas federal court to learn his sentence: more than six years in prison. And U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay told Black he owes $9,669,697.49 in restitution. For what it's worth, Black's attorney always claimed his client wasn't involved in a Ponzi scheme -- he just made some, ya know, "misrepresentations."