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5 more charged in South Fla. investment frauds

MIAMI (AP) -- Five more people have recently been charged in South Florida with investment or securities fraud, bringing the total to 153 since authorities began a crackdown in late 2010.

Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Wednesday that the Southern District of Florida from Fort Pierce to Key West ranks first nationally in the number of people charged during that time frame. The cases have also resulted in more than $1.7 billion in restitution orders.

The cases include Ponzi schemes, a variety of investment frauds, bankruptcy fraud and fraudulent business opportunities. The five newest cases involve different types of investment scams, such as attempting to manipulate stock prices and paying kickbacks to hedge fund operators in exchange for their investments.

Charges include securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.