Texas Fraudster, 77, Sentenced To Prison For Scamming Seniors In Securities Swindle; John Langford’s Agency Claimed, ‘We Don’t Promise To Make You Rich, But We Guarantee Not To Make You Poor’

“Irony, thy name is John F. Langford.” — Texas State Securities Board, July 28, 2011

An Amarillo man whose firm fleeced senior citizens by telling them it couldn’t promise to make them rich — but guaranteed it wouldn’t make them poor — has received what might amount to a life sentence behind bars for bringing destruction to their doors.

John F. Langford, 77, pleaded guilty in July to securities fraud, selling unregistered securities and dealing in securities without proper registration with the state. The case was prosecuted by the office of Potter County District Attorney Randall Sims, and Langford effectively was sentenced yesterday to remain behind bars until he turns 92 — and then some.

At least one of his victims was  “incapacitated,” according to the 15-count indictment handed up against Langford in 2009.

Yesterday Langford received seven concurrent sentences of 15 years for fraud, four concurrent sentences of 10 years for selling unregistered securities and four more concurrent sentences of 10 years for not being a registered securities dealer.

It was a promissory notes and annuities caper in which seniors and others did not get their money, according to the state.

“Irony, thy name is John F. Langford,” the Texas State Securities Board said in July, after Langford’s guilty plea. “In radio advertising spots a few years ago, Langford’s insurance agency in Amarillo said, ‘At Langford & Associates, we don’t promise to make you rich, but we guarantee not to make you poor.'”

The board said the fraud cost investors more than $5 million. Separately, the Amarillo Globe-News (Amarillo.com) reported that courtroom spectators jeered Langford yesterday by saying “Shame on you” and “I hope you rot in hell.”

Langford turned 77 last month.

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