The judge quoted from one elderly woman's letter, in which she said, "I think these guys are more cruel than if they had just gone ahead and killed me."
Two other major players in the scam, Lauren Elizabeth Scott, of Morgan, Utah, and Gregory Lee Doss, of Burbank, Calif., pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to launder money. Skavdahl earlier this month sentenced Scott to 4 3/4 years in prison and sentenced Doss to six years in prison this week.
Federal prosecutors filed papers in court in December laying out what they claimed were significant earlier business dealings in California by Reed and the others. The group solicited investors for companies called SmartWear Technologies and Applied Digital Technologies, whose stated purpose was to develop clothing using radio-frequency technology to allow tracking of children and others.
The California Department of Corporations in 2008 started civil litigation against SmartWear and Applied Digital Technologies, charging that principals were illegally selling securities in the state. The state sanctioned Reed and others for the unlawful sale of securities and ordered them to pay $9 million restitution to defrauded investors, according to state filings.
In announcing Reed's sentence, Skavdahl emphasized that no real work was done on any aspect of building turbines over the few years the scam was running before Reed and others were arrested last year.
"I have less compassion for a white-collar crook than I do for a drug user," Skavdahl said. "The drug user puts it in his own vein. The white-collar crook takes it from everyone and leaves them hanging."