A Winthrop insurance adviser has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for defrauding 40 people out of $7 million.
Prosecutors say 68-year-old Joseph Gennaco was also sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution. He pleaded guilty in February to 27 counts of mail and wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Gennaco told investors their money would be invested in life insurance policies — or ‘‘life settlements’’ — and the investments would be repaid with a guaranteed profit from the sale of those policies. Instead, Gennaco diverted the money for his own personal uses, allowed insurance policies to lapse by failing to pay the premiums, and failed to repay investors when he sold the policies.
The scheme occurred from 2001 until 2011.