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Published: 12/10/2004

Ex-Toledoan Frankel sentenced to more than 16 years for role in insurance fraud scheme

NEW HAVEN, Conn. Former Toledoan Marty Frankel was sentenced in federal court here today to more than 16 years in prison for his role as mastermind of a multi-million dollar insurance fraud scheme.

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Bree Burns called Frankel s crime spree "a very serious affair" that damaged numerous lives.

"The court has an obligation to these people," she said before sentencing him to 200 months in prison. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of that time before being eligible for parole and will get credit for time he has served since March 2001. After his term ends he will be under supervised release for three years.

Frankel, 50, wearing khaki pants and an oversize denim coat, appeared calm throughout the proceedings. At times he smiled and whispered to his attorney, William Koch.

When given the opportunity to speak on his own behalf, he gave a rambling statement for about 45 minutes, often interrupted by the judge. He claimed he hatched the plan in order to help people, especially the children of his former fiancee and business partner, Sonia Howe, and said he was not really the criminal mastermind he was portrayed as by the prosecution.

"Once you start something, how can you stop?" he asked, adding that "at the time, I didn t think it was wrong."

Frankel pleaded guilty in 2002 to 24 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy, and securities fraud. Authorities said that in the 1990s he bought several small insurance companies in Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas and stole $200 million of their assets to finance a wealthy and bizarre lifestyle.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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