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September 28, 2009

Another triple-digit federal sentence for ponzi schemer

This local article, headlined "Ponzi scheme leader sentenced to 100 years," highlights another triple-digit  federal sentence imposed on a white-collar offender earlier today.  Here are the details of a sentencing today that fell a bit short of the Bernie benchmark of 150 years' imprisonment:

A federal judge in Riverside this morning sentenced Richard M. Harkless to 100 years in prison for his role in running the MX Factors investment scheme, which took in nearly $60 million from more than 600 people between 2000 and 2003.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said Harkless had shown no remorse for his actions, either during his trial or in pre-sentence filings. The judge said many of Harkless’ victims were vulnerable to deception, and several lost homes or had to declare bankruptcy because of their losses.

Harkless, 65, was convicted in July on seven counts: three of mail fraud, three of wire fraud and one of money laundering. He faced a maximum sentence of 130 years in prison....

Harkless, who represented himself during his trial and sentencing, acknowledged the sentence amounted to a “death sentence,” but vowed to work to pay back victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Vandevelde, who prosecuted the case, said after court proceedings that the sentence was “very fair” under the circumstances. “I think it sends a strong message, especially in this climate where so many investors have been vulnerable to fraud schemes,” he said.

September 28, 2009 at 06:57 PM | Permalink


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This district judge is perhaps building her resume for an appointment to the court of appeals. We cannot afford Ponzi Schemers but we cannot afford to house them in prisons for life either. The guy represented himself. I would say that he had a fool for a client. What if he lives to be a hundred years old and costs the government millions in medical bills? The prosecutor said that the "sentence was 'very fair'. Yeah, in Russia.

Posted by: mpb | Sep 29, 2009 3:51:15 AM

As far as I am concern money well spent, parasites like this will cost the average citizen alot more money in the long run it they are allowed to be out in society to continue to financially rape the public...There is no room in this country for these scumbags...He should be locked up as long as it take the last victim to financially recover, some of them will never and have their own life sentence....Good on the judge for sending a message...I think debt occured by the victims related to this scam should be transfered over to the criminal.

Posted by: cORE Client | Sep 30, 2009 12:13:44 AM

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