(Bloomberg) -- The leader of a New Jersey real estate development company pleaded guilty to a $658 million scheme to defraud more than 2,000 investors and evade millions of dollars in taxes, federal prosecutors said.

Thomas Nicholas Salzano, 65, admitted to securities fraud and conspiracy charges Tuesday in Newark federal court for misleading investors in National Realty Investment Advisors LLC about his role in the company and misappropriating millions of dollars to enrich himself from 2018 to 2022, New Jersey US Attorney Philip Sellinger said in a statement.

“For years, Salzano told lie after lie to investors, continuously deceived them, and operated his business as a Ponzi scheme, through which he stole money from thousands of investors,” Sellinger said.

As part of a plea agreement, Salzano agreed to a prison term of eight to 12 years and pledged to pay full restitution of $507 million to the victims of his offenses, along with a forfeiture of $8.5 million, according to the statement.

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