It turns out that Jasen Snelling, the Cincinnati man who was sentenced Tuesday to 131 months in prison for running a Ponzi scheme, also ran a ‘successful” mutual fund back in the day.

The Biz Courier’s beat reporter Steve Watkins recalls interviewing Snelling in January 1999 when he ran a mutual fund based in Cincinnati dubbed the Regional Opportunity Fund. According to Watkins, the fund fared pretty well gaining 55% in 1998 and earninig a five-star rating from Morningstar in 2000.

However, the overperforming fund was underfunded -- it had reportedly reached just $12 million in assets by 2000 – and closed a few years later.

But, according to Watkins, one of Snelling’s comments back then proved ironic now.

“We’re trying for the consistency to beat the S&P 500 every year,” he said, after the fund beat the S&P 500 in 1998 by 13 percentage points.

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