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Ohio financial adviser sentenced in $4.4M fraud

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A financial adviser in northern Ohio has been sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding more than $4.4 million from nearly 100 clients over a 10-year period.

Many churches and charities were among those that lost money.

A federal judge in Cleveland sentenced Richard Zakarian of Vermilion on Wednesday. He also was ordered to repay the $4.4 million.

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach says Zakarian, a financial planner and self-employed tax preparer, lured investors with promises of guaranteed returns. Instead, the government says he made personal use of the money or invested in high-risk ventures.

Zakarian's attorney says his client is remorseful and wants to make amends.