The chief aide to former body armor magnate David Brooks was sentenced Friday to 7 years in prison for her role in a $200 million scheme to fraudulently inflate the company's stock and loot its treasury for personal expenses.
Sandra Hatfield, 60, of LaFollette, Tennessee, was also ordered to forfeit $1.8 million by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip.
Hatfield was the chief operating officer at Westbury-based DHB Industries, which manufactured body armor for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many police departments.
Prosecutors asked that Hatfield receive a 14-year sentence, while defense attorneys argued for probation.
Seybert agreed with the defense that Hatfield lacked training in finance, cared for company employees and was devoted to products that protected the military and law enforcement.
But while Seybert called Hatfield "a truly likable person -- one I would like to have as a neighbor," the judge said she significantly aided Brooks' scheme and received millions of dollars as her share.
Hatfield "didn't have to be a Rhodes scholar or a PhD from Harvard to know what she was doing was wrong," Seybert said.
Seybert noted that Hatfield made only a fraction of what Brooks netted from the scheme and doubted she would commit crimes in the future.
But the judge said she was obligated to send a message that such actions will be seriously punished.
Before the sentence was imposed, Hatfield said she was motivated more by the need to keep the company viable than financial gain.
"I loved the company," she said. "I really would have died for the company . . . All this has overshadowed all the good the company did."
Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement that Hatfield "preyed upon investors, lied to them and looted the company, all the while wrapping herself in the American flag."
Brooks and Hatfield were convicted in 2010 after an 8-month trial of a $200 million stock fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and obstruction of justice. Brooks was also convicted of mail and wire fraud, and lying to auditors.