Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 11 a.m.
In the 1993 film Falling Down, Michael Douglas plays a character who snaps while sitting in a Los Angeles traffic jam and goes on a wild crime spree.
Orange County's David Richard Sparks can probably sympathize with Douglas' role.
About three years ago, Sparks--once a successful businessman, husband of 25 years, father of four children and grandfather of three more--lost it.
Sparks concocted a complex real estate scheme designed to lure money from unsuspecting victims and, for example, in August 2009 managed to steal $1 million from a person in Wisconsin, according to the FBI.
While operating his scam, Sparks became an hardcore alcoholic, cheated on his longtime wife with a younger mistress and found himself divorced.
Law enforcement officers received a tip about Sparks, confronted him and he immediately cooperated, according to court records.
In hopes of receiving a lenient sentence, he blamed the crappy economy for contributing to his criminal conduct and noted his participation in church activities.
This month, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney sentenced him to a term of 78 months.
Sparks, 51, had sought a sentence of no more than 63 months of incarceration.
According to jail records, U.S. Marshals have not yet transferred him to a federal prison.