LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Southern California sheriff’s deputy who funded an extravagant lifestyle with $5.6 million he bilked from victims in investment scams has pleaded guilty to federal charges. The Department of Justice says Christopher Burnell of Highland entered pleas Monday to more than a dozen counts and could face up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say over a seven-year period, Burnell convinced victims he was a wealthy businessman and promised his victims large and quick returns on their investments. But instead, prosecutors say he blew $2 million on gambling and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plane trips and luxury items for his then-girlfriends.
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