Leonardo Simpatico, a property agent from Aix-en-Provence, was arrested this week along with his daughter and a notary in Aix-en-Provence after collecting a total $5.39 million from 40,000 people who were told they were being entered in a drawing to win one of six houses or apartments -- and that their money would be refunded if they didn't win -- The Local.fr reported Friday.
The winners soon discovered Simpatico had not completed the deals to purchase any of the homes in question.
The suspects, who were being held in Marseille, were charged with fraud, operating an illegal lottery and illegal betting.
Charlize Theron not engaged to Sean Penn 'yet'
Pistorius testifies he didn't consciously pull trigger when he shot girlfriend