- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - A judge has sentenced a former semipro baseball player-turned-businessman from suburban Chicago to 18 months in prison after he admitted bilking victims out of more than $1.7 million.

The IRS criminal investigation’s office says 74-year-old Richard Ahrendt was also ordered to pay back the investors he cheated. He pleaded guilty in June to filing false tax returns. A judge in Chicago sentenced him this week.

Prosecutors wanted around 2 1/2 years in prison for Ahrendt. They say he made false promises about his industrial-waste company, Hydro-Tek Environmental Systems, to entice victims. Some were from his son’s sports academy.

In requesting probation, a defense filing said prosecutors exaggerated the scheme’s complexity. It said Ahrendt “only committed garden-variety tax evasion” and so “should only be sentenced for garden-variety tax evasion.”

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