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Vt. man will go to prison for $9m movie fraud

Malcom Parker, his family, and an attorney left US District Court in Vermont Wednesday.

Emily McManamy/associated press

Malcom Parker, his family, and an attorney left US District Court in Vermont Wednesday.

RUTLAND, Vt. — A Vermont man was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in prison for his role in a movie project that defrauded investors of $9 million.

A judge sentenced Malcom ‘‘Mac’’ Parker to 55 months, nearly two years more than the maximum term agreed to in a plea deal.

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Parker and Louis Soteriou of Middlebury, Conn., had both pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from a movie project called ‘‘Birth of Innocence.’’

The fraud, which resembled a Ponzi scheme, resulted in losses for hundreds of investors, mostly from Vermont, and a movie was never released.

Before he was sentenced, Parker cried as he apologized for bilking investors, the Burlington Free Press reported.

‘‘You were not wrong to trust me; I was wrong to violate that trust,’’ he said during the five-hour hearing. ‘‘I was foolish . . . delusional . . . naive . . . wrong. And I did things that were wrong.’’

US District Court Judge Christina Reiss urged Parker, a storyteller, to take time to compose himself. ‘‘This is important,’’ she said.

Parker and Soteriou, who was sentenced to seven years on Monday, will have to pay $9 million in restitution.

The plea deal had called for up to three years in prison, but the judge was not required to agree to it.

Reiss ruled that Parker was particularly responsible for the fraud scheme, but since he received less money than his silent partner, Soteriou, he was sentenced to a shorter prison term.

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