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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has upheld a 32-year prison sentence for an Asheville businessman convicted of cheating his investors out of millions of dollars.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Thursday that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rejected an appeal by James W. Bill Bailey Jr.

Bailey was sentenced to 32 years in a prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to securities fraud, mail fraud and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors said his Ponzi scheme cheated investors out of more than $13 million.

Bailey argued in his appeal that a judge had wrongly accepted a second plea agreement that contained corrections to a previous agreement reached with prosecutors.

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