White Plains businessman gets five years for bilking celebrity clients

A White Plains businessman who cheated dozens of celebrities out of their speaking fees was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison.

Alan Walker, president of Program Corporation of America, was convicted of 60 counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy in April. The prosecution claimed Walker bilked famous speakers out of their cuts of speaking fees. Walker?s attorney says his client was just trying to keep his business afloat.

Magic Johnson, Andy Rooney and James Earl Jones were among the celebrities that testified against Walker in his trial. The prosecution said Walker ignored messages and even lied about traveling to Australia for prostate surgery as excuses for his failure to pay.

Walker has been in custody since violating bail conditions in March. He will remain in prison until March 2010.

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