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Originally published Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 10:54 AM

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Chicago lawyer sentenced to 7 years in prison

A Chicago lawyer has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a federal judge who said his excessive loyalty to Refco Inc. led him to help the company carry out a $2.4 billion fraud.

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK —

A Chicago lawyer has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a federal judge who said his excessive loyalty to Refco Inc. led him to help the company carry out a $2.4 billion fraud.

Lawyer Joseph P. Collins was sentenced Thursday after he was convicted at trial of conspiracy and other charges in a huge fraud at the commodities brokerage giant.

Federal Judge Robert Patterson said federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of up to 85 years.

Refco filed for bankruptcy in 2005. It was once the nation's largest independent commodities broker.

Collins testified that Refco executives did not reveal the fraud to him.

Former Refco CEO Phillip Bennett is serving 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

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