By Denny Walsh
A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced well-known Sacramento businessman Collins Max "Collie" Christensen Sr. to five years in prison for investment fraud - a term in excess of two years beyond what his plea bargain called for and more than a year and a half above the top of the sentencing guidelines.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Carlberg and defense lawyer McGregor Scott told the judge they felt the three years and nine months they earlier had agreed on was fair and just punishment.
But U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, whose opinion was the only one that counted in the end, said he didn't believe their negotiated time behind bars adequately reflected the immense damage done to the investors.
The 53-year-old Christensen was accused of siphoning hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars out of the pockets of at least 14 investors, and perhaps as many as 30.
However, Carlberg and Scott settled on an official misappropriation of $985,994 for purposes of the plea deal.
Mendez set a Jan. 10 hearing on the question of how much restitution Christensen should be ordered to pay to the victims.