Lillian Pair, 42, was ordered to repay $1 million, most of that to a small group of investors from New Jersey.
The single mother of two from Summerville also was ordered to forfeit her house and other property.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said Ms. Pair spent the money from investors on her home, cars for herself and family members, vacations and "generally lived beyond her means."
"Things got way out of hand in a little bit of time," Ms. Pair said in court Thursday during her sentencing.
Prosecutors said Ms. Pair deposited a bad check into her company's account in 2005 so she could provide evidence to investors that the company, Low Country Concrete, had collected money from customers for services rendered. But the businesses owed no money because they received no services.
Later that year, investors sent her more than $600,000, according to the indictment.