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PHILADELPHIA — A last minute appeal by defendants in the Bentley Financial Services case could stall any future money distribution to those affected by a widespread Ponzi scheme started by the defunct firm.

In 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Bentley and Entrust Group alleging that the defendants claimed to be selling bank-issued, federally insured certificates of deposits that were actually uninsured securities. Hundreds of credit unions, banks and individuals invested more than $370 million with the defendants. Since then, Peninsula Bank, Joseph Marzouca and Ted Benghiat, Southeastern Securities, Inc. and SFG Financial Services, Inc. have been named as defendants. Robert Bentley, who ran Bentley Financial pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank bribery, is currently serving five years in prison and was ordered to pay $3.25 million in fines.

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