The former chief operating officer for Global Aquaponics on Friday apologized to the victims who lost money in the Brookings project, and he vowed to repay nearly $500,000 if allowed to remain free.
“I understand my actions caused this project to fail and for them to lose their money,” Tim Burns said at his sentencing in the Federal Courthouse in Sioux Falls.
But the apology and pleas of forgiveness from friends and family weren’t enough to spare Burns from prison.
Judge Karen Schreier sentenced Burns to 57 months in prison, followed by a period of supervised release for his role in defrauding investors in what was promised to be a high-tech, indoor fish farm in Brookings. At least 34 people invested in the project, in which ownership units were sold for $25,000 each. Investors lost about $1 million raised during the summer and fall of 2016.