FRANKFURT Two managers of a German Ponzi property scheme who became notorious for throwing parties with models, fast cars and even an elephant have been sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison, a Frankfurt court said on Wednesday.
The founders of S&K were convicted of breach of trust for operating a pyramid scheme in which they funnelled 240 million euros ($258 million) from 11,000 investors into their own accounts to finance a lavish lifestyle.
In a 3,200-page complaint, prosecutors described the racketeering of Stephan Christoph Schaefer and Jonas Koeller, who were arrested in 2013 after 1,200 investigators searched the S&K premises and its roughly 150 affiliated companies.
Raiding police found numerous bags filled with coins that which at least one of the defendants had used for bathing in money, much like cartoon billionaire character Uncle Scrooge, according to prosecutors at the 110-day trial.
The defendants regularly impressed customers by arriving at their parties in a company helicopter and showing off their luxury Porsche, Lamborghini and Aston Martin cars.
They also posed with underwear models, on one occasion bathing in an oversized champagne glass, and even brought a live zebra and elephant to their parties.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; editing by Mark Heinrich)