Bobby Bowden's oldest son sentenced in fraud

Updated: October 17, 2003, 5:58 PM ET

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The oldest son of Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden avoided jail in a $10 million investment fraud Friday after his father -- among the alleged victims -- spoke on his behalf.

While Steve Bowden once faced a maximum of 41 months in prison and restitution totaling $4.3 million, he was instead sentenced to six months in home detention and one year on probation.

U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre also ordered him to pay $1.26 million in restitution -- an amount reduced because his father and another victim dropped their claims.

Addressing the court, the elder Bowden denied he was a victim of fraud. Instead, Bobby Bowden said he simply lost money in an investment that both he and his son believed to be solid.

Prosecutors said Steve Bowden assisted investigators in unraveling the case, another factor in lessening the sentence.

Steve Bowden pleaded guilty in April, admitting he conspired with former Alabama quarterback Brian Burgdorf and others in a scheme that allegedly defrauded investors of $10 million.

The scam involved selling unregistered securities through The Millennium Fund, which billed itself as being for "the privileged few."

Steve Bowden brought in his father and three other investors, who lost more than $4 million total, according to prosecutors. Bobby Bowden invested $1.6 million.

Steve Bowden and Burgdorf, a backup on Alabama's national title team in 1992, pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell unregistered securities.

Bowden and Burgdorf, whose sentencing was delayed, were among recruiters who brought investors into the scheme, which began in 1996 and included a web of accounts and corporations, according to court documents.

Three other men also were charged.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index