Trials & Litigation

Texas Broker Gets 17-Year Sentence in Fraud Scheme

The former CEO of a Texas-based investment firm has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of investors out of more than $50 million.

Several of his victims watched as Kurt Branham Barton, the former head of Triton Financial, gave a tearful apology at his sentencing hearing Friday in federal court in Austin, the Associated Press reports.

“I never intended for any of this to happen,” Barton said as he choked back tears. “I feel terrible about what’s happened.”

Barton, 43, was convicted on 39 charges in August, including more than a dozen counts each of wire fraud and money laundering.

Investors, who included members of Barton’s family and his church, as well as several professional athletes, thought their money was being used for real estate deals and business loans. But prosecutors say Barton spent much of the money on himself, paying for such things as a luxury box at University of Texas football games and a $150,000 car.

Defense lawyer Rip Collins said Barton was trying to run a legitimate business, albeit one that was mismanaged.

But prosecutor Mark Lane said Barton just wanted to be a “big shot.”

“This case was about his ego and feeding it,” he said. “And his ego is expensive.”

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