SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The disgraced former owner of the Sacramento Capitals tennis team was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison after acknowledging that he operated a $150 million Ponzi scheme.
Deepal Wannakuwatte, 63, of Sacramento was sentenced in federal court and turned over $3.5 million in cash and property to authorities.
Wannakuwatte pleaded guilty in May to a wire fraud charge. He acknowledged conning investors and bankers out of $150 million that they thought was going toward a lucrative latex glove business that Wannakuwatte controlled.
Wannakuatte produced documents showing his victims that he had $100 million in annual contracts with federal government agencies to provide gloves, when he only had a single contract worth $25,000 over five years.
Many of Wannakuatte’s victims told the court they lost their life savings.
Wannakuatte’s attorney Phil Cozens said his client is remorseful and prepared to spend the bulk of his life behind bars.
“He is sorry for what he did,” Cozens said.
Wannakuatte could have faced 90 years in prison if convicted at trial.
The tennis team is now defunct.
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