By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - A former Chicago attorney has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for orchestrating a tax fraud scheme that impacted the finances of several National Football League players.

During a hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said Gary Stern’s scheme not only defrauded the IRS out of millions of dollars in tax revenue but also financially damaged victims like former New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas.

Thomas told the court his credit has been so ruined by Stern’s schemes that he can’t lease a car.

Before being sentenced, the 58-year-old Stern wept as he apologized to his family and victims.

Stern pleaded guilty last year to funneling renewable energy tax credits through multiple business entities for wealthy clients to claim at least nearly $5 million in tax credits. Nearly 20 current and former NFL stars lost money as part of the fraud.

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