Frankel Gets 17 Years for Insurance Fraud

Connecticut financier Martin Frankel (search) was sentenced Friday to nearly 17 years in prison for masterminding one of the largest insurance frauds in U.S. history.

Once the target of an international manhunt, Frankel pleaded guilty in May 2002 to federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud (search) after he bilked insurance companies in five states out of over $200 million.

Frankel could have faced up to 150 years in prison and some $6.5 million in fines, but federal prosecutors sought a lesser sentence in exchange for his pledge to cooperate with attempts to recover the money he stole.

Authorities have recovered at least $60 million of the $209 million he is thought to have stolen, federal prosecutors said.

During a sentencing hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Burns (search) ordered the convicted financier imprisoned for 200 months, or just under 17 years.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Frankel was arrested in a Hamburg hotel room in September 1999 after a worldwide manhunt. Authorities began searching for him when he vanished shortly before a fire that destroyed business documents in his Greenwich, Connecticut, mansion.