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Lawyer convicted to 23 years in securities case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge in North Carolina has sentenced a former securities lawyer to 23 years in prison for his role in a massive fraud scheme.

Gregory Bartko of Atlanta was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III on Wednesday following an all-day hearing.

The 58-year-old Bartko was convicted in 2010 on six counts related to a conspiracy to sell millions of dollars in fraudulent securities to about 200 investors in 21 states, including several Baptist churches. According to prosecutors, the victims were falsely told that their investments were safe and insured, even as $3.3 million in client funds were withdrawn for personal use.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said Bartko deserved severe punishment for defrauding people out of their life savings.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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