Ex-Iowa sports radio host sentenced to prison in fraud case

January 20, 2021 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Des Moines sports radio host was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison for swindling at least eight people out of about $1.5 million.

Marty Tirrell, 60, was sentenced in Des Moines’ federal court to 41 months and ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution to victims, federal prosecutors for Iowa said in a news release Wednesday. He had faced up to 20 years. Tirrell pleaded guilty last month to one count of mail fraud in the case.

Prosecutors said Tirrell told investors he could buy sports tickets with their money, resell them, and split the profit with them. To gain investors’ trust, Tirrell began by giving them back their invested money along with profits, as promised, as well as VIP access to sporting events. But Tirrell soon began lying to the victims and sending them bad checks while spending their money on personal items or to pay back other investors, officials said.

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Tirrell had hosted talk shows for years and appeared on Mediacom’s local cable shows.