BALTIMORE (AP) — The wife of a man serving 22 years in prison for cheating family, friends and investors in a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme got a sterner sentence than prosecutors and defense attorneys recommended.

U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett exceeded the probation recommendation in sentencing Amanda Merrill to serve six consecutive weekends in the Howard County jail.

Merrill pleaded with him on Friday to consider her two young children, but the judge said he wanted to send a message.

Bennett also sentenced her to six months of house arrest.

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FBI agents said her husband, Kevin Merrill, created one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in Maryland history. They said he fleeced investors for an estimated $189 million.

His possessions included a fleet of exotic sports cars; a rare comic book collection valued at an estimated $200,000; a fine wine collection valued at $150,000 and a Louis Vuitton wardrobe valued at nearly $1 million.

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