ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Ponzi schemer Doug Vaughan will be sentenced on Wednesday, but federal prosecutors and his defense are trading jabs over the plea agreement struck last December.
Vaughan, a real estate tycoon, admitted to swindling more than 600 investors out of $75 million, then using it to fund his jet-setting lifestyle, which included a huge mansion he built on the Tanoan golf course, stocked with Ferraris, high-end clothes, jewelry and furniture.
Federal prosecutor Greg Fouratt said Vaughan may never pay back any of his victims, so the government is making him pay with his freedom.
Under the plea deal, Vaughan faces between 10 to 12 years in federal prison. Fouratt and Vaughan's attorneys, Amy Sirignano and Trace Rabern, agree that is equivalent to a life-sentence for Vaughan, who turns 65-years-old next month.
Fouratt is asking the judge for 12 years in a medium-security federal prison with typical criminals. Vaughan's defense is asking for 10, which would qualify him for a minimum-security prison camp, or so-called "country club prison."
Vaughan's lawyers also want a year of that sentence in an alcohol treatment program and the option to voluntarily surrender. They claim prosecutors verbally promised those two conditions when Vaughan pled last December.
Fouratt said that was never part of the agreement.
In a lengthy letter, Fouratt wrote Vaughan and his defense never mentioned his so-called "alcohol problem," until less than a month before his sentencing. Fouratt even pointed to statements made by one of his attorneys when she told a judge that "Mr. Vaughan only has a glass of wine with dinner." Fouratt claims he's using a Chardonnay addiction to avoid a prison cell for a year.
As for the voluntary surrender agreement, prosecutors said they've upheld it so far. Vaughan has been a free man since he pled guilty more than eight months ago.
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