An eastern Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to more than 180 counts in what authorities called a multimillion-dollar bogus investment scam has been sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison.
Northampton County Judge Jennifer Sletvold imposed the sentence Wednesday on 68-year-old Richard Freer following an emotional hearing before scores of people who lost money.
Authorities said the Palmer Township financial adviser masterminded a scheme that bilked more than 80 people, many of them elderly, out of a total of $10 million in savings and retirement funds.
The (Easton) Express-Times reports that Freer's attorney read a letter in which his client apologized, saying he was "deeply ashamed." He said the thefts started in 2009 when he was in financial trouble, and he had intended to repay the money.
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Freer's victims included his own brother who asked the judge to sentence Freer to life, according to the paper.
"To have your brother look you in the eye and tell you three days before he's arrested, 'Your money is safe,' is unbelievable," said Lawrence Freer.