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March 1 (Reuters) - Will Allen, a former cornerback for the New York Giants and two other National Football League teams, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday for his role in what prosecutors called a more than $35 million Ponzi scheme involving fraudulent loans to professional athletes.
Allen, 38, of Davie, Florida, had pleaded guilty in November to federal fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges.
U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston also sentenced Allen to serve three years of supervised release and pay $16.8 million of restitution.
The judge later imposed the same sentence against Allen's business partner Susan Daub, 56, of Coral Springs, Florida, a former private banker at Regions Bank who pleaded guilty to the same crimes.
Prosecutors had sought a 6-1/2 year term for Allen, but only about four years for Daub, court records showed. Both defendants were remanded into custody after being sentenced.
Allen and Daub were accused of having from 2012 to April 2015 swindled investors by promising to use their money to back high-interest, short-term loans to athletes through Capital Financial Partners, their Massachusetts-based company.
While some money did go to athletes, prosecutors said Allen and Daub diverted millions of dollars to themselves, and used new money to repay earlier investors.
More than $16 million was lost overall, and several investors lost more than $1 million each, prosecutors said.
"Mr. Allen's conduct is especially egregious," Joel Garland, an Internal Revenue Service special agent in charge, said in a statement. "He used his status as an NFL athlete to legitimize his dealings with investors."
Oscar Cruz, a federal public defender representing Allen, declined to comment. Daub's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cruz had sought a 2-1/2 year term for Allen, saying the married father of three and his family recently lost their home to foreclosure, and that Allen has "earnestly tried to rebuild his life" in recent months.
Allen attended Syracuse University, and was a first-round draft pick for the Giants in 2001. He played five seasons with the Giants and six with the Miami Dolphins, before finishing his NFL career with the New England Patriots in 2012. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay)