A Miami, Florida investment trader who once called Colts Neck home faces charges in New Jersey of running a Ponzi scheme estimated to have cost victims $18,000,000.

Louis J. Spina, 56, faces one count of wire fraud filed by prosecutors in the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. If convicted, he rists up to 20 years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss. His first appearance is today in Trenton.

According to investigators, Spina collected the sum from 28 investors starting in August 2010 and continuing through the current month, guaranteeing monthly returns of nine to 14 percent through LJS Trading LLC.

Authorities said Spina lumped all the money into a single account, transferring $8,000,000 into a trading account and losing all of it in bad deals.

They also alleged that Spina used the $10,000,000 remaining to cover investors' interest payments, return partial principal to some, and cover personal costs such as car installments, apartment rentals, and a $400,000 donation to a private university.