Former NFL player sentenced for fraud

Former professional football player and Martinez businessman Arthur J. Marshall Jr. was sentenced Monday to 69 months in prison.

Marshall will begin his federal prison sentence on Aug. 30. Once he completes his time behind bars, Marshall will serve five years on probation. During that time, he is to make regular monthly payments to his victims, who are due more than $3.6 million.

Marshall grew emotional Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court as he apologized to those he harmed and he pledged to make amends.

"I didn't intend for them to get hurt, but they did and that's my fault.

"I will do everything in my power to make this right. And I will," he said.

U.S. District Judge J. Randal Hall noted that it is unlikely Marshall will be able to make complete restitution to his victims before his probation ends, but he urged him to follow through on his promise to pay everyone back.

Marshall was a star on the Hephzibah High School football team who went on to play for the University of Georgia and the NFL.

He returned to Augusta in the 1990s and was indicted on federal charges in June 2009.

Marshall pleaded guilty in October to two counts of bank fraud. He admitted he falsified information about personal finances, sale contracts and other documents submitted to obtain mortgage loans.

The biggest losers in Marshall's scheme were the banks that were left holding millions in mortgages, but other victims included a family who never got a property title from Marshall after paying him $100,000 for a home and members of the American Legion where Marshall's father belonged.

A bankruptcy court judge has already entered a judgment for the American Legion post against Marshall for $91,000.

Marshall filed a bankruptcy petition for his business, Custom Contractors, in August 2008, listing about $11 million in debts.

"Arthur Marshall stands here today a tragic figure," said his attorney Kieran Shanahan. Marshall wasn't the sports star who left home and never looked back. He ran a successful business until the real estate market crashed and made terrible choices in an attempt to save himself, Shanahan said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stewart asked the judge to consider the extensive harm mortgage fraud has had on every community, including this one. Many of Marshall's victims might have been friends, but they want the law to apply to Marshall just as it does to everyone else, Stewart said.

Hall told Marshall that his sentence was a particularly difficult decision to make. The judge noted Marshall's extensive community work and volunteer service and the number of people who wrote in on Marshall's behalf. Hall also noted that the near financial collapse of the U.S. economy was due in large part to mortgage fraud.

Hall sentenced Marshall to serve 69 months in prison. The federal sentencing guideline range for Marshall was 63 to 73 months in prison.

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