ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Convicted Ponzi schemer Doug Vaughan will face a judge next week to be sentenced for taking near 700 investors for a $74 millon ride.
Vaughan took a plea deal last December that sets him up for 10-12 years in prison.
Both federal prosecutors and his defense agree that's equivalent to a life sentence for the 64-year-old former real estate executive. But former U.S. Attorney Gregory Fouratt is asking for the maximum of 12 years.
In a nine-page letter to the court, Fouratt writes, "The high-flying, mansion-building, Ferrari-driving, Vegas-gambling life that (Vaughan) led was breathtaking in its audacity and grotesque in its scope."
Fouratt said Vaughan lived like a king in what's been dubbed his "Ponzi Palace," a four-bedroom,seven-bath mansion complete with poolside cabana and 400-plus-bottle wine cellar that he built on the Tanoan Golf Course. Vaughan lived by himself, according to Fouratt.
Fouratt continues saying Vaughan spent "like a sailor on shore leave."
Documents show between January 2005 and January 2010 Vaughan charged almost $800,000 for luxuries including $252,653.38 for domestic and international travel, $146,263.64 on clothes and jewelry, $153,710.58 on home furnishings, all while his victims were duped into investing their life savings into Vaughan's failed real estate company, said Fouratt.
Vaughan pleaded guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud in December 2011. His possessions were auctioned off, and his mansion sold for $1.4 million.
Amy Sirignano and Trace Rabern, defense attorneys for Vaughan, argue in their sentencing memorandum for a 10-year sentence saying the additional two years won't help Vaughan pay back his victims. Sirignano said Vaughan is remorseful and accepts responsibility for his actions.
The attorneys are also asking a judge to allow Vaughan to spend a portion of his sentence in the Bureau of Prison's 500-hour Residential Drug Abuse Program for his alcohol problem.
But Fouratt argued in his memo that it is an attempt for Vaughan to avoid prison for a year. Prosecutors said they don't buy his "addiction" to Chardonnay calling it a "luxury."
"After all, millions of people drink wine on a daily basis and thousands of doctors recommend doing so," wrote Fouratt. "Most important, there is no credible evidence that the long-term Ponzi scheme that Vaughan masterminded and operated was fueled by alcohol.
"Greed narcissism, an insatiable desire for the spotlight and the adoration of others, perhaps, but not alcohol."
Fouratt is asking the courts to remand Vaughan into custody after his sentencing, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
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