Ken Starr, Hollywood's Mini-Madoff, Gets 7.5-Year Jail Sentence

Money manager who pleaded guilty to $30 million Ponzi scheme is sent to prison

Ken Starr — the 67-year-old Hollywood money manager who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, investment advisor fraud and money laundering last year — was sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison on Wednesday in New York.

Starr and his lawyers worked out a plea deal last September with the government. He had faced a jail sentence of up to 12-and-a-half years, but the court gave Starr a lighter sentence based on his "longstanding charity and civic work."

"I stand before you a contrite, humiliated and ashamed man," Starr told Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin. "I lost my moral compass and as a result I am here."

In addition to his jail term, Starr was ordered to pay more than $29 million in restitution.

Starr’s reported client list was peppered with some of Hollywood’s heavyweights, including Uma Thurman, Martin Scorsese, Goldie Hawn, Candice Bergen, Ron Howard, Mike Nichols and Wesley Snipes, photographer Annie Leibovitz, as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Caroline Kennedy.

Starr was arrested at his Manhattan home last May, charged with fraud and executing a $30 million Ponzi scheme between January 2008 and April 2010. Police found him hiding in a closet.

According to the charges, Starr bought a $7.5 million Manhattan condominium with a 32-foot lap pool with his clients' money, as well as lavish gifts for his wife, the 35-year-old ex-Scores stripper Diane Passage.

Passage appeared in court Thursday, according to the Daily News, and got a zinger from the judge. "He seemed to have lost his moral compass partly as a result of infatuation with his young fourth wife," Scheindlin said.