An Amarillo insurance salesman has confessed to writing $5 million worth of nonexistent "private" annuity contracts and could be sentenced to spend over a century in prison.
John Langford is already 76, but even a younger man would find the penalty steep.
He faces 99 years for seven counts of fraudulent securities sales -- a first-degree felony -- and another 16 to 80 years for eight counts of acting as an unregistered agent.
While the final verdict may indeed be severe when it comes down in September, the process has taken awhile to come around.
Langford reportedly sold a lot of his fake annuities in the 2004-to-2006 timeframe and was only indicted back in November 2009.
Now, Langford -- whose motto used to be "we don't promise to make you rich, but we guarantee not to make you poor" -- seems to just want to get it over with.
He signed a confession and has acknowledged his guilt.
The fake contracts in question bore plenty of warning flags.
They were touted as paying up to 8% a year, and in at least one high-profile account were set up so that even elderly clients would have to wait at least a decade before the checks started arriving.
The scheme came to light when the legal guardian for one of his oldest and biggest clients noticed that Langford's annuities weren't actually paying out. Moreover, he sold them after the client was already senile.