Fraudster Merriman To Be Sentenced

Sep 14 2010 | 11:31am ET

A day after former IBM executive Robert Moffat learned he’d be going to prison for his role in the Galleon Group insider-trading scandal, an admitted hedge fund fraudster faces the music in Denver.

Shawn Merriman, who pleaded guilty to running a $21 million Ponzi scheme in December, will be sentenced today. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud conviction.

Prosecutors say Merriman ripped off at least 68 investors, many of them fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Merriman has since been excommunicated). He allegedly spent much of the money funding a lavish lifestyle, including art and car collections worth some $4 million.

Merriman doesn’t dispute that he defrauded investors—at his plea agreement, he told the court that he had confessed his crimes in individual calls to his victims. But he does dispute the figure of $21 million, which is about the $20 million level that allows for longer sentences.

Prosecutors are seeking nearly 16 years in prison for Merriman. Merriman’s lawyers have countered that he should receive a sentence half as long.

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