FRAUDSTER German Cardona Soler has been sentenced to thirteen years in jail by a court in Madrid for masterminding one of the biggest ever financial scams to originate in Spain. Soler, a Valencian, is believed to have conned as many as 180,000 people out of over €350m in a fraud that operated out of 110 countries between 2007 and 2010. Over this period he persuaded people to invest in a scheme which promised fantastic financial returns in a short period for very little risk. However the money was largely diverted to Soler’s and his girlfriend’s personal accounts and the investments talked about were fictional. What money was paid to investors came purely from new investors, what is known as a Ponzi Scheme, made famous by US fraudster Bernie Madoff. As well as the jail sentence Soler was ordered to pay a staggering €300m in fines to victims of the scheme. His girlfriend, Lisa Mantilla, was also found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and a fine of €900,000. Two other people standing trial with the couple were both acquitted by the court. After Bernie Madoff was found guilty of a similar fraud in 2009 the US courts sentenced him to 150 years in jail-so Soler may consider his term lenient in comparison.