Former N.Y. Giants star Ingram sentenced to federal prison

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Former New York Giants star Mark Ingram was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison after trying to convince a judge he had turned his troubled life around.

The 1991 Super Bowl standout, who is free on $200,000 bail until Dec. 5, asked for leniency at his sentencing on federal money laundering and bank fraud charges. He said the criminal record he has racked up since his 1996 retirement is “not who I am.”

“It hurts me to my core,” said Ingram, 42. “I made mistakes.”

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He said he now counsels troubled youths, volunteers with various charities and understands that his football feats make him a role model.

U.S. District Court Judge Denis R. Hurley noted the “dedication and commitment” Ingram had shown on the football field but also his rap sheet, which includes seven previous convictions and goes back 23 years.

“He is like many of us: multifaceted,” Hurley said as he sentenced Ingram to 92 months in prison and up to five years of probation.

Ingram also must pay $252,000 in restitution.

Ingram’s lawyer asked the judge to postpone the prison term until February 2009, in part so the former wide receiver could watch his son, running back Mark Ingram Jr., play his freshman season at the University of Alabama. Given the length of the sentence, it could be the elder Ingram’s last chance to see his son play, lawyer Raymond Colon said.

The judge said a five-month delay was excessive and set the December date.

Ingram pleaded guilty in November 2005 to laundering money he believed to be proceeds from narcotics deals and to bank fraud for cashing counterfeit checks.

His sentencing was delayed as he tried to revoke the plea, fired several court-appointed attorneys and made what prosecutors termed “outlandish” legal arguments, including a claim that he was immune from prosecution because he enjoyed diplomatic status as a head of state.

Ingram, who lives in Flint, Mich., has since said he was only referring to case law on the point.

He missed three sentencing hearings before surrendering Monday under threat of an arrest warrant. In an interview last week, he said he didn’t want his shame to shadow his son.