A disbarred Orange County attorney was sentenced to a year in federal prison for his part in a high-yield bank fraud scheme that cost 18 victims about $5 million.
Bruce Haglund, 66, of Irvine, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who also ordered the defendant to pay about $6 million in restitution, according to Ciaran McEvoy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Haglund sold his house for about $1.5 million, netting about $400,000 in equity for the government as part of his restitution
“He’s completely divested himself of everything to try to make amends,” said Haglund’s attorney, Dyke Huish.
Prosecutors had recommended that Haglund be sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison. In February 2018, Carter indicated he was considering a term of 18 to 27 months.
But Carter was moved by how much Haglund has done to pay back the victims, Huish said.
Haglund, who was disbarred in July 2017, did not realize initially that his role in the scheme was illegal, according to Huish.
“But when the water was boiling, he didn’t get out,” Huish told Carter at a hearing last year. “His mistake, his crime was he should have said no … He should have known better.”
Haglund pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting wire fraud in April 2016 and testified against co-defendant Mark Gelazela of Marina del Rey, who was convicted in September 2016 and sentenced to 41 months in prison.
Gelazela’s victims were told they were investing money that would be spent on leasing and monetizing bank guarantees. Investors were told that upon leasing the bank instruments, a credit line would be drawn that would be used for trading that would lead to big profits. Instead, Gelazela and his co-conspirators spent most of the money on themselves, and some investors were paid off to keep the scheme going, prosecutors said.
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