As the best man at a classmate’s wedding, Brian Sapp gave a toast to the importance of friendship.
He went on to steal half-a-million dollars from the groom and the life savings of several people present.
Among his victims were the father of a severely disabled child, the parents of his godchildren and a man dying of pancreatic cancer – whose widow Sapp asked for $75,000 (€66,700) days after the funeral.
For his four-year, $1.8m (€1.6m) real estate scam, Sapp (38) was sentenced last week to nine years in prison.
“I am not a criminal mastermind who manipulates people with no remorse,” Sapp told Judge Anthony Trenga in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. “I was too weak, too desperate, too proud.”
Sapp told the judge he has been reading self-help books and engaging in “self affirmations”.
He had claimed to his friends and their families he had contacts who could help him find distressed properties at great prices in the Washington area.
In reality, after quitting his job as a construction manager in 2012, he never flipped a single house. The only money his business made was a “finder’s fee” for scouting a few properties.
He went on to steal the name of the Alexandria home builder he had worked with, signing it on fake docuemnts.
Some victims even paid taxes on their illusory profits, which Sapp often convinced them to reinvest in his next venture.
© The Independent