Lou Pearlman, the man who created boy bands N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison today.

The pop mogul was charged with swindling friends, investors and banks out of $300 million (£153 million) by encouraging them to invest in two bogus companies for almost two decades.

Pearlman previously pleaded guilty to the charge in March.

Today Judge G Kendall Sharp said he would reduce the prison sentence by one month for every $1 million (£500,000) Pearlman paid back to his victims.

Prosecutors claim that at least 250 individuals lost a total of $200 million (£102 million) while a further 10 financial institutions lost $100 million (£51 million) between them.

Pearlman said in a statement: "Over the past nine months since my arrest, I've come to realise the harm that's been done. I'm truly sorry and I apologise for what's happened."

In handing down the sentence the judge told Pearlman that because family members, close friends and elderly citizens were victims of his scheme, "the sympathy factor doesn't run high with the court".

21/05/2008 18:19:41