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Va. man faces gets 9 years for AIDS-related fraud

Wednesday - 7/10/2013, 6:09pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A Virginia man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding investors in a company that he claimed was developing a treatment for the AIDS virus.

Michael F. Harris told a federal judge Wednesday that he didn't intend to swindle anyone, and he plans to appeal.

The 50-year-old Luray man was convicted in March of bilking dozens of investors out of more than $800,000. Harris promoted a treatment using hyperbaric chambers, which he said inhibited the HIV/AIDS virus. The chambers are used to treat divers for decompression sickness. Evidence showed that Harris spent most of the investors' money on personal expenses.

One of his victims was a San Diego anesthesiologist who invested $200,000 after contracting the AIDS virus. The man died four weeks later.

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