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Sommet Group founder convicted in $20 million scheme to cheat clients sentenced to 20 years


NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The head of the now-defunct Sommet (soh-MAY') Group, which formerly held the naming rights to the Bridgestone Arena, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of stealing from clients.

The office of U.S. Attorney David Rivera says Brian Whitfield also was ordered to pay more than $25.9 million in restitution during Monday's sentencing hearing.

A federal jury convicted Whitfield in November on 14 counts related to a $25 million scheme to steal from clients.

The Sommet Group handled payroll, benefits and other back-office functions for businesses.

An indictment accused Whitfield of using company funds to pay for personal expenses including a $400,000 houseboat and a $152,000 pool.

The Sommet name was taken off the arena after federal agents raided the company's Franklin offices in 2010.

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