Local News

Ex-Harnett teacher sentenced in stock-trading scheme

Posted May 17, 2011 4:47 p.m. EDT

— A former Harnett County teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for cheating investors in a fraudulent day-trading stock scheme, authorities said.

Ronnie D. Rainey, 44, who now lives in Elk City, Okla., pleaded guilty last July to mail fraud.

Prosecutors said 65 investors lost about $2.2 million in the scheme, but a hearing will be held in August to determine how much restitution Rainey will have to pay to the investors.

Rainey solicited people to invest their money with him from 2003 until 2005 through four companies that he created: Par 5 Investors LLC, Birdie Investors LLC, Eagle Investors LLC and Double Eagle Investors LLC. He was never registered to sell securities in North Carolina.

Rainey created multiple accounts with E*Trade and Ameritrade and drew in investors with claims that they would get monthly returns of 10 percent. When the investments began losing money, prosecutors said, he manufactured false monthly and quarterly statements for investors, indicating their investments were turning a profit.

Investigators alleged Rainey shuffled funds between accounts and converted much of investors’ money to his personal use.

In January 2006, he sent a letter to all investors, telling them their accounts had been frozen and his investment companies would be dissolved, prosecutors said.

“Mr. Rainey showed contempt for the law and he did great financial harm to his victims, many of whom lost large chunks of their life savings," Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said in a statement.

Securities investigators in Marshall's office investigated the case.