Starr Gets Seven-And-A-Half Years For Scam

Mar 3 2011 | 10:51am ET

Ponzi schemer Kenneth Starr, the financial adviser who peddled his wares to celebrities and at least one hedge fund manager, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Starr had been facing up to 12½ years under federal sentencing guidelines, but U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York imposed a relatively lenient seven-and-a-half years owing to Starr's good works.

"He seemed to have lost his moral compass partly as a result of infatuation with his young fourth wife," the judge added.

Starr pleaded guilty last year to ripping off clients to the tune of $20 million and $50 million. Over the years, Starr Investment Advisors and Starr & Co. advised such Hollywood names as Goldie Hawn, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone and Uma Thurman. Assuming control over some of their financial lives, Starr then used that access to enrich himself and his friends, the criminal complaint alleges. According to prosecutors, he solicited money for investments that he then stole, as well as simply stealing money from their accounts. He also ran a Ponzi scheme, using client money to repay clients who wanted out.

"I can't believe I did what I did," Starr offered yesterday.

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