Nearly 90 people were convicted on Monday on charges they helped con banks and insurance companies out of huge sums in a massive scam centered on Paris' garment district.

The 88 suspects received sentences ranging from suspended jail terms to seven years in prison plus huge fines, while another 36 defendants were cleared at the end of one of the county's largest ever fraud trials.

Those convicted were found guilty on a host of fraud-related charges, with prosecutors saying that the scam was carried out by suspects obtaining multiple bank loans based on fake credit guarantees.

More than 700 small shops and enterprises mainly located in the garment district called the Sentier - known for its sweatshop clothing factories and large immigrant workforce - were implicated in the scandal.