A former Atlanta securities broker and lawyer was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of defrauding 200 investors out of $3.3 million.

Gregory Bartko was sentenced April 4 in Federal District Court in Raleigh, N.C., for his part in the fraud through the sale of unregistered securities that targeted church members, among others, says Thomas G. Walker, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Bartko conspired with securities salesman Scott Hollenbeck of Kernersville, N.C., a member of Gospel Light Baptist Church, who used his religious connections to help raise millions from investors, Walker says.

Hollenbeck falsely promised guaranteed interest rates of 12% to 14%. Hollenbeck worked through the Caledonia Fund, a fund owned by Bartko. He was sentenced earlier to nine years in prison.

Despite a cease and desist order from the North Carolina secretary of state's office issued in April 2004, Bartko and Hollenbeck continued to raise money from investors for another fund Bartko developed, the Capstone Fund. The money was used for Bartko's and Hollenbeck's personal use.
Bartko's sentence was based in part on his efforts to obstruct justice and for his extensive perjury at trial, says the U.S. Attorney.

--Karen DeMasters