A federal appeals court today upheld a fraud conviction and sentence of more than eight years in prison for a San Francisco real estate developer who operated a $20 million investment scheme.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling issued in San Francisco, rejected a series of procedural challenges by John Hickey, 53, to both his conviction and sentence.

Hickey was convicted after a three-and-a-half-week trial in federal court in San Francisco in 2005 on eight counts of mail fraud and two counts of securities fraud.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup sentenced him to eight years and one month in prison and ordered him to pay more than $17 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said Hickey and his business partner, Mamie Tang, 58, of San Francisco, induced more than 700 investors to give them $20 million for a supposed plan to develop real estate in Napa and Sonoma counties and elsewhere in Northern California.

The investors, many of whom were retirees, lost most of their money, prosecutors said.
Tang pleaded guilty in 2000 to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced in 2003 to five years in prison.

Hickey was initially indicted in 1997 and later became the subject of three revised indictments before going to trial in 2005.

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