A businessman has been sentenced to 10 months behind bars for racking up almost $190,000 on director Peter Jackson's American Express card. The moviemaker used his card to purchase items online from the Michigan Toy Soldier Company, which is owned by Richard Berry.
Berry then used the card details to make his own purchases in 2008 and 2009, spending a total of $189,902. The Detroit-based businessman, who has paid back more than half of the money to American Express, entered into a plea agreement in September, in which he admitted to billing charges to the director's credit card.
In December, he apologized for his actions, telling a judge, "I am truly sorry for this and all the trouble it has caused everyone. I was led to do this because so many people were relying on me and the thought of failure and letting all these people down weighed so heavily on me that I made some very foolish and terrible decisions."
"When the economy turned bad, my business started to suffer and funds started to dry up which led me to make these bad choices. None of this justifies what I have done in this case. I took advantage of someone who I thought might not notice."
However, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland sentenced Berry to 10 months jail time earlier this week, along with three years' probation, according to the Detroit Free Press.