Juan Miguel Lopez, 54, was convicted of money laundering, securities fraud and theft of over $300,000, all first-degree felonies.
He was sentenced to 79 years and given a $10,000 fine for each of the three cases.
As part of the scam, Lopez promised his 79 victims that they would receive a monthly interest rate of at least 3 percent.
Prosecutors Alexis Goldate and Stephanie Martin argued Lopez got a thrill from taking money and used his Mexican heritage to target immigrants living in the Dallas area and in Mexico.
They said Lopez geared his investment scheme, under the names Mito Financial, Mito Bank, Mito Group and Mito Capital, toward immigrants and made them believe they, too, could live the “American dream.”
Lopez is a Mexican citizen and could face deportation.
Defense attorney Ron Goranson argued Lopez had been a good man without any criminal record until he started his business around 2011.
“He’s a good family man,” Goranson said. “He really thinks he can pay people back.”
During closing arguments Friday, Goranson stood silently for one minute in front of the Dallas County jury who convicted Lopez and decided his sentence.
The attorney said he wanted to demonstrate how long a minute feels and how uncomfortable years in jail could be for Lopez.
“Things can be replaced,” Goranson said of what Lopez’s victims lost. “Time cannot.”
But Goldate argued that Lopez ruined people’s lives, and he should serve a year in jail for each of the 79 people he took money from.
“The defendant sentenced 79 people to a lifetime of financial ruin and uncertainty,” Goldate argued.