Jon Beacham (pictured), a former executive of National Century Financial Enterprises who was a key witness in a $1.9 billion corporate fraud case against executives at the company, was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley (S. D. Ohio). According to the AP, Beacham “cooperated with investigators and received the lowest sentence of anyone sentenced to date for involvement in misleading investors.” Last year, prosecutors tried seven defendants in the case, and six were convicted, the AP reports. Beacham pleaded guilty in July 2007 to conspiracy and fraud charges.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Beacham’s attorney suggested that probation would be a reasonable sentence. Judge Marbley, however, stated that while he “pondered seriously the notion of probation,” he concluded that the magnitude of the case demanded prison time. The judge did give Beacham a lesser sentence than what other conspirators received because his role was not as significant and because he cooperated with federal prosecutors. He called Beacham one of the most credible witnesses who has testified before him “in this or in any case.”