SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 29 (AP) - A central Illinois bank robber who was turned in by his three sons was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years in prison for his string of small-town holdups.
The defendant, William A. Ginglen, drew the minimum sentence from a federal district judge, in keeping with a plea bargain he had struck with the government. Still, now 64, he will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The judge, Jeanne E. Scott, also ordered Mr. Ginglen to repay the $56,382 he stole, which, the authorities say, went to support a girlfriend and a crack cocaine habit and to pay for visits to prostitutes.
Mr. Ginglen robbed five banks, two of them twice, from November 2003 to July 2004. A married father of four, he had spent the bulk of his life as a civic leader in and around Lewistown, 200 miles southwest of Chicago.
His new life of crime and vice, which he had detailed in a diary that later became part of the evidence against him, began to unravel in August 2004, when one of his sons, Jared Ginglen, a Peoria police officer, recognized him on bank surveillance videos posted on a law enforcement Web site.
Jared and his brothers, Clay and Garrett, then alerted the authorities. They have said it was their father, a former marine, who taught them always to do the right thing.
In court Thursday, Judge Scott told Mr. Ginglen that his sons were "the greatest credit of your life."
"They acted in an exemplary fashion under circumstances that must have been incredibly difficult," she said. "Someone taught them right from wrong, even when you didn't. Their actions perhaps saved your life."
Mr. Ginglen's lawyer, Ron Hamm, who was a classmate of his at Lewistown High School in the late 1950's, pleaded with the judge to consider while passing sentence the defendant's service as village trustee, zoning board chairman, auxiliary police officer and firefighter.
Addressing the court before receiving his sentence, Mr. Ginglen started to speak, stopped for 90 seconds to compose himself and then said, "I'd like to apologize to everyone."
Afterward, Jared Ginglen said: "There are no winners here today. The whole thing has been a tragedy for my family."
William Ginglen pleaded guilty in July to seven counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence. In return, the government promised to seek the minimum sentence.
But there is at least a small chance the plea could be withdrawn. Mr. Hamm said he planned an appeal to suppress evidence that Jared Ginglen took from his father's house, including clothing and the diary. Mr. Hamm said that because the son was a police officer, the evidence was illegally seized.
But Jared Ginglen said that he was off duty at the time and out of his jurisdiction, and that he had gone to the house to find his father and confront him, not to seize evidence.