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Bee Cave Businessman Gets 17 Years For Ponzi Scheme

Kurt Barton
Photo by Triton Financial
Kurt Barton

Ponzi schemes are in the news today, and it’s not just because Gov. Perry is blasting Social Security or Bernie Madoff’s wife is on a book tour. No, this time it’s because a Bee Cave business man has been sentenced to 17 years behind bars for operating a $75 million Ponzi scheme that employed Heisman Trophy-winning football players to help promote it.

Kurt Barton of Triton Financial was found guilty in August of 39 counts of fraud. His investors included family members and people who attended his church, and Barton used the money to pay for a costly lifestyle that included a luxury box at University of Texas football games, YNN reported.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks called Barton’s behavior “despicable” today before handing him the 17 year sentence, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Sparks said he lost track of how many times Barton had lied in orchestrating the fraud.

Barton offered a tearful apology today, the AP reported, but some of his victims were hoping he would receive the maximum life in prison, according to KXAN.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.