Calling him part of the "lunatic fringe," a federal judge sentenced a Santa Clarita man to five years in prison Tuesday for his part in a "freemen" scheme to sell millions of dollars in fraudulent checks.
Barry Switzer, 51, was convicted in October of 11 counts of mail fraud and passing a false government obligation in a scheme that operated in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys up to early 1996, said Pamela Johnston, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case.
Tuesday, Switzer was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian to pay an $18,000 fine and placed on three years' probation following his release from prison, Johnston said.
Switzer's attorney, Phil Deitch, could not be reached for comment.
Along with Switzer, Elizabeth Broderick--the leader of the ring--and Julian Cheney were convicted of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges for the scheme that netted $1.2 million, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office.