Former investment advisor and radio talk show host Dawn Bennett was sentenced to 20 years in prison for defrauding her clients of $20 million and using the money to pay for religious rituals, astrological gems and other luxuries.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Paula Xinis in Greenbelt, Md., on Wednesday, about nine months after a jury found Bennett guilty of 17 federal charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements on a loan application, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Maryland.

Many of the dozens of clients who fell victim to Bennett's false claims that they were investing in an internet clothing business saw their retirement savings wiped out by the former celebrity financial advisor, according to prosecutors. Some of these clients tearfully confronted her at the sentencing hearing, according to the Associated Press.

Xinis also ordered Bennett to pay $14.5 million in restitution and forfeit $14,306,842, and stipulated the prison sentence would be followed by five years of supervised release.

"Dawn Bennett knowingly defrauded retirees of their life's savings—most of which she used for her own personal benefit," U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a prepared statement. "She's been held accountable for her lies and theft and will now spend years in federal prison."

Trial testimony showed that Bennett obtained more than $20 million from 46 investors, many of whom were fans of her nationally syndicated radio show Financial Myth Busting, which was broadcast by the conservative Radio America network, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Bennett was also a frequent guest on The Call, a CNBC show hosted by Larry Kudlow, who now serves as director of President Donald Trump's National Economic Council.

Some of the money she collected in the scheme was used to pay earlier investors, but she also spent investors' money on personal luxuries, including a luxury suite at a football stadium and cosmetic medical procedures, according to prosecutors.

The case also took a bizarre turn last year when prosecutors revealed that she also used her clients’ money to arrange for priests in India to perform religious ceremonies to ward off federal investigators and purchase astrological gems.

The Associated Press reported that Bennett read a statement out loud during the sentencing hearing in which she vowed to devote the rest of her life outside of prison to repaying "every penny" she took from her investors.

"I am so profoundly humiliated that it will be difficult to ever shake it off," she said, according to the report.

First « 1 2 » Next