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Raul Marrero   Josh Stockinger     A former real estate broker apologized tearfully in court Monday for operating a $10 million pyramid scheme that drained the bank accounts of nearly 70 investors. But Raul Marrero, 38, found little sympathy in a DuPage County courtroom packed with dozens of his victims, some of whom groaned loudly as when he promised to pay back "every dollar lost, right down to the last penny." dhGlobalObj.showAd( { 'slug':'Billboard2' } ); "Every time I think about it, I just feel sick," said investor Mona Avalos of Darien, who testified her family lost $40,000 in Marrero's scheme. Marrero, formerly of Chicago, was sentenced Monday to 13 years in prison for stealing millions from mostly Hispanic investors over the course of about three yearsHe pleaded guilty to felony theft charges last month. Prosecutors with the Illinois Attorney General's Financial Crimes Bureau said Marrero solicited $10.7 million altogether through several Oak Brook Terrace- and Wheaton-based companies, using word-of-mouth and ads on Spanish language radioWhile some of the victims lost entire life savings, prosecutors said, Marrero collected more than $1 million for himself. The scheme was uncovered after investors began filing complaints with the Illinois Securities DepartmentInvestigators later seized 42 boxes of financial records from Marrero's office, leading to his indictment last year. "This was a man who was stealing with both arms," Assistant Attorney General Paul Bervid said"He left (investors) with nothing." dhGlobalObj.showArticleBodyAd( 1 ); In a tearful statement to the court Monday, Marrero asked for forgiveness from his victimsHe said he started out an honest real estate broker and only began operating the scheme as a way to make up for unexpected business failings that accompanied the economic downturn. "I made mistakes -- mistakes that caused extreme hardship -- when I took on way too much too fast and well outside of my abilities," he said"What I did was wrong, and I let every single one of you down." Abraham Pineda of Niles testified he invested $1 million after Marrero promised 12 percent returnsBut the scheme wiped out his life savings and home equity, leaving him with a 30-year mortgage and nothing for his daughter's college education. "(Marrero) ruined my life," Pineda said. Another investor, from Downers Grove, testified that he was suicidal after losing nearly $600,000"I don't have any more money to send my kids to college," he said"I'm about to kill myself." Judge Blanche Fawell, who called the amount of money stolen "staggering," sentenced Marrero to just two years less than the maximum allowedShe said the sentence was necessary to deter others from committing the same crime. Marrero also agreed to pay more than $5 million in restitution upon his release from prisonHe said he "will not stop until I get this done." #article_video {width:100%;margin:25px 0;max-width:576px;overflow:hidden;} try { _402_Show(); } catch(e) {} Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); --> This article filed under: Business News Downers Grove Niles Oakbrook Terrace Wheaton DuPage County dhGlobalObj.showAd( { 'sizes':[ 300, 250 ], 'pos':'btf', 'module':'article-end' } ); dhGlobalObj.showAd( { 'slug':'Billboard1' } ); dhGlobalObj.showAd( { 'slug':'ArticleTower' } ); (function() { if ( document.documentElement.clientWidth

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