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Sep 15, 2010 8:22 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Former Colorado Mormon bishop sent to prison

A former stockbroker accused of running a $21 million Ponzi scheme from his suburban Denver home for 15 years has been sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison.

Victims packed the courtroom Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger sentenced Shawn Merriman. He had pleaded guilty to defrauding at least 67 investors.

Authorities say Merriman promised investors returns of 7 to 20 percent, but spent the money on himself. They say Merriman, a former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, used the money to take safari trips and buy antique cars and artwork. Most of his victims were fellow Mormons, neighbors or friends of friends.

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