A superior court judge sentenced admitted fraudster Dennis Eugene Long to 12 years in state prison during a hearing on Friday, June 12.
Sixty-five-year-old Long read a “statement of apology” before he heard the judge give him the maximum possible sentence.
“Many victims were there, but they had already spoken at the April hearing, so they did not speak again,” prosecutor Anna Winn said in a statement released after the hearing.
The con artist had expected to be sentenced to 7 years in prison after he made a plea deal last January; then, he admitted to 5 of the 69 felonies that had been charged against him. He also admitted to getting away with more than $500,000. An investigator had alleged that Long stole more than $1.2 million, preying upon persons he met at different churches in Southern California. Carlsbad police pursued the case when victims from Daybreak Church in that community contacted authorities.
But San Diego superior court judge Michael Popkins busted the plea deal after he heard from more than a dozen victims who came to the sentencing hearing in April; they gave detailed and personal accounts of the frauds that Long had committed against them.
Long was given some time to consider withdrawing his plea deal, since the judge chose a longer sentence; Long had the option of pursuing his case to trial. At the next hearing, in mid-May, Long declared that he would stick to his guilty plea and accept whatever sentence the judge would decide. At that time, he told the judge: “I’ll let you sentence me between 7 and 12 years.”
“The people [of the State of California] and the victims are gratified by Judge Popkins’s careful consideration of the proper sentence in this complicated case,” Winn commented after the hearing.
Popkins set another court date for the case, for the afternoon of July 16.
“The next court date is just for restitution review, to make sure the restitution amounts are correct to various victims,” according to Winn.