Ex-Iowa businessman admits to $1.1M Ponzi scheme

DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Ottumwa, Iowa investment manager is likely heading to prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion stemming from a $1.1 million Ponzi scheme.

John Francis Holtsinger pleaded guilty Friday during a hearing in federal court in Des Moines as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The deal calls for Holtsinger to face a recommended prison term of roughly between 4 and 7 years when he is sentenced in January.

In pleading guilty, Holtsinger acknowledged that he received more than $1.1 million from investors between 2005 and 2012 and that he misspent most of their money on personal expenses or to pay back others.

After learning he was under investigation, Holtsinger tried to convince investors to falsely tell investigators that their investments were actually "interest-free loans."