A Farmingdale venture capitalist might spend as many as 20 years in prison when he's sentenced in January, for conning an Illinois investor out of $50,000.

In a Trenton federal courtroom today, 54-year-old Michael Peniston, founder of Venture Development Associates, Inc.,  pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud.

According to the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, Peniston admitted luring the investor in 2008 with a plan to obtain "via lease procedure" a "bank instrument" valued at 500,000,000 Euros. The acquisition was purportedly to fund the purchase of "medium term notes" that the victim believed would generate a profit of $37,400,000.

Instead, investigators said, Peniston spent the money on himself.

Authorities say that Peniston reached out to the mark in July 2011, promising restitution and faxing a copy of a check in the amount of $200,000 along with a copy of a shipping label, to give t