Back in 1999, Michael Winans and his family members released their Winans’ Phase II CD, titled We Got Next. Recently, Michael, 30, got 14 years!
A judge sentenced the young singer and relative of Grammy Award Winning Winans clan, including The Winans, Bebe & Cece, Mom & Pop, and Angie & Debbie to nearly 14 years in prison for bilking more than 1,000 investors in an $8 million pyramid scheme.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Judge Sean Cox heard testimony from Michael’s victims and said, “You used…churches to perpetuate this fraud.” According to a report from the DFP, Assistant U.S. Attorney Abed Hammoud said Michael “used religion. He used the church. The good reputation of the family” to rob his victims. In October, Michael pled guilty to wire fraud. In court, Michael addressed the court, saying, “I did make mistakes.”
He admitted to causing “financial and emotional damage,” but said there was no malicious intent on his part. “I wanted people to have a good life.”
“Michael led investors to believe they were investing in Saudi Arabian crude oil bonds that he knew did not exist,” said Abed in a sentencing memo.
Michael is the son of Michael and Regina Winans. When we last spoke to him, he told us that he had moved from Detroit to Washington, D.C. He lives with his wife Stephanie. The couple have a young daughter.
“I’ve done some good things and I’ve done some bad things,” Michael once told S2S, “but my heart has always been pure at all times. Even in my mistakes, there was still a pureness of heart.”