Deepal Wannakuwatte, the former owner of the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals professional tennis team, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for perpetrating one of the costliest Ponzi schemes in the region’s history. Prosecutors say Wannakuwatte conned his victims into investing in a West Sacramento medical supply company whose revenue was just a fraction of what he claimed.
The sentence wasn’t a surprise; it matched the terms of a plea agreement Wannakuwatte made with prosecutors in May. But the hourlong hearing in U.S. District Court didn’t lack for drama. Nine of his victims made statements to the court, either in person or by letters read out loud by the prosecutor.