A Massachusetts man has been charged in federal court with mail and wire fraud involving sales of purported life settlements over six years.

The U.S Attorney’s office filed charges in Massachusetts district court against Joseph Gennaco, 67, of Winthrop, Mass., on five counts of wire fraud and 13 counts of mail fraud. Gennaco also resides in Jupiter, Fla., according to the announcement from U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

The indictment charges Gennaco defrauded about 20 investors of funds totaling about $4 million from 2002-2008 by allegedly misrepresenting that the funds would be invested in life settlements. Instead, Gennaco used the funds for his own personal and business purposes, the indictment charges.

Gennaco operated through several entities, including Gennaco & Associates, Oceanview Financial Services, GCT Trust, and Crescent Management Group, according to the indictment.

Gennaco’s alleged fraud was based on representing to investors that their funds would be invested in one or more life insurance policies and that the investments would be repaid with a guaranteed profit from the sale of those policies. Instead, Gennaco diverted investors’ funds to his own uses, allowed insurance policies to lapse by failing to pay the premiums, and failed to repay investors when he sold the policies, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Gennaco faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, according to the announcement.

Also taking part in the investigation were the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts Securities Division.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Balthazard.

An attorney for Gennaco declined to comment on the indictment.