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Christian Concert Promoter Sentenced For $1M Ponzi Scheme

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — The concert promoter of events featuring Christian rock bands was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for a wire fraud scheme that bilked nearly $1 million from investors.

Lauren Baumann, 43, of Downey, was the owner of Stewardship Estates, LLC, which collected nearly $1 million in loans, promising investors that the money she solicited would be used to finance battle of the band events featuring Christian rock bands and other music groups that would generate profits from ticket sales and company sponsorships. Baumann also told some of her investors that their money would be used to purchase, refurbish and resell homes.

Federal prosecutors say Baumann instead used a large chunk of investors’ money to pay earlier investors, who thought they were receiving profits from Baumann’s venture. Baumann also used investors’ funds to pay the $10,000 rent on a historic mansion in Downey and pay private school tuition for her children, among other personal expenses.

More than two dozen victims in Orange and Los Angeles counties suffered losses totaling nearly $560,000, federal officials said.

When Baumann pleaded guilty in October, she also admitted she failed to tell investors she had been convicted of securities fraud in 1999 in a Texas federal court and had been found liable in a related civil fraud action brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Baumann was ordered to being serving her sentence by April 2. She was also ordered to pay restitution to her victims in the scheme.

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