12 Investigates: Sentence reduced for Convicted Ponzi Schemer - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

12 Investigates: Sentence reduced for Convicted Ponzi Schemer

Donald Lacey Donald Lacey

In 2010- Judge Henry Hudson told Donald Lacey he tarnished the badge he once wore. That was right before Hudson sentenced Lacey to 10 years in prison.  

This week victims of Lacey's ponzi scheme, which bilked investors out of more than $15 million, were told his release date was bumped up to October 24th of 2016. That is well short of the time he was required to serve.  

We contacted the Bureau of Prisons and were told that earlier this month Judge Hudson reduced Lacey's sentence to 7 years. There is no record of a hearing in federal court and the documents surrounding the change in Lacey's sentence are all sealed. 

The US Attorney's Office told us it can't comment on the change because the documents are sealed, but a spokesperson did tell us, it's not unheard of for a person, who plead guilty, avoided a costly trial and cooperated with investigators to have his sentenced reduced by 10 or 15%.

But to Lacey's victims, like 75-year-old Jack Graybeal- a retired firefighter who lost his life savings to the scheme- this change to Lacey's sentence hardly seems fair.  

"I don't think they took into consideration how many families he's ruined financially. I thought he had a light sentence to start with. I assume that they've got overcrowded jails. To the people that he's hurt this is not acceptable," said Graybeal.

NBC12 spoke with several of Lacey's victims by phone and all of them expressed outrage that the sentence was reduced.

Many also told us- although Lacey's been ordered to pay $15 million in restitution- they don't believe they'll ever get their money back.

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