Dennis Eugene Long
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On April 28, statements from victims of admitted fraudster Dennis Eugene Long so impressed a judge that he broke the plea deal in order to sentence the con artist to 12 years in prison instead of 7.

Judge Popkins

Judge Popkins

In San Diego Superior Court, judge Michael J. Popkins said, “I am moved by everyone’s comments” and “I am just appalled by what happened in this case.” The judge also stated that “Stealing from friends is even more serious.”

Popkins informed Long, 65, that because he planned to use his discretion to increase the prison term described in the plea deal, Long had the option to withdraw his guilty plea and the case would then go on to trial.

Long and his court-appointed attorney wanted time to consider the matter, and May 12 was set as the date when they would respond.

Prior to the judge’s announcement, 13 victims spoke before the court, each describing a betrayal by the defendant. Long had met most of his victims through churches and Bible-study groups or associations through his daughter and her activities.

Long was arrested on April 18, 2014. He was originally charged with 69 felony counts, including grand theft, securities fraud, and residential burglary. He has been held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The defendant pleaded guilty to five counts in January of this year. With a stipulated sentence of seven years in state prison, he might have expected to serve half that time with “good behavior.”

One of his victims accused Long of having a “safety deposit box somewhere,” and Long shook his head “no” while she spoke.

All of the victims declared that the seven-year sentence was not enough, and they expected Long to continue his swindles after he was released. Some of the victims’ statements included: “He’s a great liar.” “He traded our genuine friendship for a payday.” “He stole from us the ability to trust people.” “Obviously he looked at all of us as targets.” “With tears in his eyes, Dennis said he was praying for my Parkinson’s disease.”

One victim complained that his money paid for the fraudster’s Hair Club for Men membership, spray tans, veneers on his teeth, and an expensive leased car.

Long was described as a swindler, a fake, a crook, a false prophet, a predator, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Many of the victims who spoke turned to address Long directly. Some of their comments included: “We prayed with you during your supposed battle with leukemia” and “You are a sick person.”

One victim who was tricked into the investment scheme complained that when she contacted Long for the promised payout: “He made excuse after excuse after excuse.”

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Comments

Visduh April 30, 2015 @ 8:45 p.m.

Many of these plea deals are disgraceful. Oh, we hear from the DA and every level of law enforcement that they lack the resources to take the cases to trial, and hence they make deals. They are a fact of the criminal justice system in this county and this state, and probably every state. But too often they end up with an unsatisfactory and unsatisfying result for all involved. (We all saw that sort of thing in the recent So County school district corruption cases. Nobody really was punished enough to atone for the crimes committed. Instead they were whacked on the hand with a ruler and sent to time out. Oh a few got short jail sentences when they really should have headed off to the joint.)

I'm happy to see a judge with backbone. He said "no deal" and is going to make it stick. Will he be on the DA's "sh** list?" Very likely, but then on occasion the prosecutors need to be reminded that justice isn't what they negotiate with defense mouthpieces. They need to remember that they carry a heavy burden of making the bad guys pay. So, I say good for this judge. I have a hunch the def will cave and agree to the stiffer sentence.

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Eva Knott May 12, 2015 @ 3:49 p.m.

“I’ll let you sentence me between the seven and 12 years,” the admitted thief, defendant Dennis Eugene Long, 65, told the judge today, May 12 2015.

Two weeks ago, Honorable Judge Michael Popkins gave Long some time to consult with his defense attorney, because the defendant had the option to withdraw his plea after the judge broke the plea deal to increase the sentence by five years.

However, defense attorney Laura Copsey wanted more time to file a statement "in mitigation," and defendant Long reportedly wants to give a statement to a probation officer. So the matter was delayed another month.

Everybody is expected back in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse on June 12, 2015, before the same judge, to hear the final sentence.

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