DETROIT - A man addicted to the Michigan Lottery was sentenced to more than four years in prison Wednesday for a scheme that cost investors more than $23 million.
Viktor Gjonaj of Troy told people that he was plowing their money into real estate deals. Instead, he was playing the Daily 3 and Daily 4 games — more than $1 million a week by 2019.
Gjonaj believed he had discovered a guaranteed way to win big jackpots, according to his plea agreement.
Instead, Gjonaj "wound up with nothing other than a federal felony conviction," defense attorney Steve Fishman said in a court filing.
Gjonaj, a real estate broker, created a fake title company and instructed investors to wire money into a bank account, investigators said.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker sentenced him to 53 months in federal prison.
Fishman, who had sought 30 months, said Gjonaj confessed to the FBI even before agents knew there was a scam.
He called it an "extraordinary acceptance of responsibility."