Local News

Cumberland Businessman Apologizes During Sentencing Hearing

Posted February 23, 2006 7:26 a.m. EST

— A Fayetteville businessman accused of conning more than 150 senior citizens out of a combined $18 million begged the judge to go easy on his sentence.

Anthony Allen read a statement in court Thursday , saying: "I'm not sorry that I've been caught. I'm glad that I've been caught so, now, I can quit hurting these people. I am sorry, terribly sorry, for what I have done. I don't deserve their forgiveness."

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    Allen pleaded guilty to 85 counts of fraud in December. His sentencing began Wednesday when roughly 20 victims took the stand, urging the court to put Allen away for life.

    One victim, Joy Graham, turned to Allen and said, "Anthony Allen, I would like for you to look at me. What happened? Where did my money go?" Allen didn't answer.

    "At first, I hated Mr. Allen, then I was disappointed in him," said Graham. "Then, I wanted him punished, punished real bad."

    "Mr. Allen needs to be put away so that he can't do it to somebody else" said another victim Nettie Leary

    At one point, Allen was seen crying in court, however, some of his victims thought he may have been faking. During a break in the court proceedings, one man was heard saying, "Those are alligator tears."

    Many urged the judge to throw the book at Allen. That may be the only justice they get. Investigators believe their money is gone forever.

    Allen's parents are the same age as the victims and could barely watch the proceedings. The judge plans to decide on a sentence on Friday.

    Technically, Allen could face up to 800 years behind bars. State Department of Insurance officials are hopeful that Allen will receive a significant sentence.