Swindler Sentenced

Swindler Sentenced

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- A North Logan equities trader who stole millions of dollars from up to 100 investors has been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Lance Kent Henderson, 34, pleaded guilty in May to stealing between $6 and $8 million from Cache Valley residents who invested in several business ventures with Henderson. Henderson had been under investigation by the Utah Department of Commerce for about a year before he was arrested in December 2002.

Second District Court Judge W. Brent West on Friday sentenced Henderson to two consecutive prison terms of one-to-15 years. The first sentence stems from convictions on three second-degree felony charges of securities fraud. The second results from convictions on one second-degree and one third-degree felony charge of securities fraud.

"This just didn't happen once and you just didn't take advantage of one person," West said.

Most of Friday's 2-hour sentencing hearing was dominated by several victims who asked the judge to give Henderson a harsh prison sentence. Many of the 64 known victims were senior citizens, and many lost their life savings and retirement pensions.

Before the victims testified, Henderson read a statement, apologizing for causing them "pain and loss."

"I'm sorry I offended so many of you so greatly," he said. "I truly am sorry for what I have done."

Henderson had been charged with 20 other felony counts, including selling unregistered securities, being an unregistered securities agent, securities fraud and participating in a pattern of unlawful activity. However, because of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed those charges.

West ordered that all money lost by investors be returned.

However, he said he realized returning such a large amount of money would be difficult.

"Some of them lost everything they owned because they invested in you," West said.

Henderson's bankruptcy lawyer, Joe Chambers, said a collection agency is trying to help Henderson reimburse the money.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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