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Man sentenced to 5 years in prison for defrauding investors of more than $3.2 million
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A Buford man who pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of more than $3.2 million was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday.

Blake Bancroft Richards, 39, was sentenced Wednesday morning by U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May. Richards pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud.

“The pain and suffering to the victims of this crime can never be appeased,” said FBI Atlanta Acting Special Agent in Charge George Crouch in a news release. “The trust that was violated by Richards has caused lifelong damage to these individuals.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Richards defrauded clients from 2008 through 2013, when he would tell clients he would invest the money in “life insurance, fixed income assets, variable annuities and stocks.”

“Instead, he deposited the money into bank accounts he controlled and used the money to make his own loan payments, pay real estate taxes, take personal trips and pay other personal expenses,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Richards was accused of giving fake account statements to his clients, which included close friends and family.

“When investors asked for their money, Richards made payments from his personal account or made excuses about why he could not return their money,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Richards with appropriating investor funds.

May sentenced Richards to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Richards must also pay $3.7 million in restitution.

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