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Saying he's never read a more discouraging pre-sentence report, a federal judge gave a two-year prison sentence to a retired Army lieutenant colonel who faked his own death and ripped off an Army buddy's savings.

U.S. District Judge David Sam said it is sad to see someone with a distinguished military record and fine family bring discredit to them by stooping to white-collar crime.In addition to ordering the prison time, Sam required Norman Irick Jackson, Northridge, Calif., to pay back $115,000 he took from Joseph P. McGlynn while acting as his friend's investment adviser. And he ordered him to take part in a structured alcohol treatment program and serve five years of probation upon his release.

In return for Jackson's guilty plea to two wire fraud counts, Sam dismissed a third count.

The pre-sentence report to the judge about Jackson's background was confidential, but defense counsel Leonard Comden said it showed that his client was a war hero. Sam called Jackson's record impressive.

"I have great regard for those who serve their country and serve their country honorably and are willing to lay their life on the line for the defense of what we hold dear," the judge said.

So it was especially discouraging, he said, to see that after McGlynn had given Jackson access to his Provo account with Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith for the purpose of buying and selling securities for him, Jackson betrayed that trust.

After McGlynn opened the account, he went to Indonesia to work. In his absence, Jackson obtained McGlynn's Visa card on the Provo account, then got a California driver's license in McGlynn's name and impersonated him in various Merrill Lynch offices around the country to withdraw money from the account.

In late August 1987, according to the grand jury indictment against him, Jackson told his wife he was going to rent a private plane and "watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean," left and never returned. The Civil Air Patrol conducted a two-week search before concluding he must have crashed in the ocean and died.

Jackson then went to Orlando, Fla., where he got jobs as a waiter at a steak house and a liquor clerk at a drugstore. In November 1987 he went to Las Vegas, where he worked at a fast-food restaurant and at a pharmacy until he was discovered by the FBI and arrested in April 1988.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ryan told the Deseret News the FBI had been alerted by McGlynn's sister, who reported that, although her brother was still in Indonesia, money was being withdrawn from his Provo account.

Jackson's wife and family thought for about eight months that he was dead, until they started to get word from the FBI that he might still be alive, Comden said. His wife is divorcing him.

The defense attorney told Sam that Jackson had started out with good intentions of retiring from the military and building up an investment counseling business with friends as clients, but when he started losing their money he panicked.