The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday charged a prominent Miami-based business leader and his wife with fraud, alleging they conducted a $135 million Ponzi scheme involving real estate investments from hundreds of elderly Cuban-American investors living in South Florida.

The SEC alleged that Gaston E. Cantens and Teresita Cantens, the founders and co-owners of real estate development company Royal West Properties, sold promissory notes to investors after acquiring various properties and later financing their sale.

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