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Former Investment Boss Gets 14 Years For 'Horrific Fraud'

(CBS) -- A former investment CEO was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $665 million in funds lost to his former clients.

"I may be incompetent, but I'm not a thief," Eric Bloom, 50, said as sentence was handed down.

WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports.

The former Sentinel Management executive said he may have been negligent in picking his portfolio manager but added he wanted to spend more time with his family. Bloom's wife and children sat with emotion.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman said Bloom had "perpetrated a horrific fraud."

"You still fail to grasp what you've done wrong," he told him.

Prosecutor Clifford Histed explained Bloom had used client dollars to back up a $400 million loan used to fund trading for Sentinel Officers, a loan called when the market collapsed in 2007, dragging down the Sentinel Securities and the client money that bought them.

Histed said Sentinel and said it was really a house of cards.  He told the judge the "financial crisis didn't cause the Sentinel implosion, it just ripped away the veneer."

Federal guidelines allowed a sentence up to life, and prosecutors sought 20 years.

Bloom must report to prison by April 30.


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