A Lakewood, Colo., mortgage broker was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday for bilking more than $5 million from more than 50 investors, according to local news reports.

Mortgage broker Randy Romero was charged with soliciting millions of dollars from investors to help qualify for mortgages through his company, American Home Mortgage. He had earlier this year pleaded guilty to two charges of securities fraud.

The money was supposed to go toward bridge loans and down payments, and investors were told to expect interest rates of 10 percent to 20 percent per month, according to an article in the Rocky Mountain News.

Most of the victims were middle-aged or elderly, and many lost their homes and retirement savings. Many who invested with Romero also encouraged friends and family members to do the same.

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