U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez didn’t know what to make of the man standing in his courtroom for sentencing on September 7, 2010. Dave Sanders was a successful corporate sales executive—a widower who was raising his three young children in a suburb outside Sacramento, California. His shoes gleamed from the energetic polishing he’d given them that morning, and his buzz cut gave him the appearance of an earnest, middle-aged Boy Scout. But now the 43-year-old had confessed to operating a bizarre paramilitary vigilante squad that targeted people involved in Ponzi schemes. His team included a 365-pound US postal worker and a woman who looked like a PlayboyPlaymate; it was equal parts SWAT team and three-ring circus, and it had landed Sanders here, in a Sacramento courthouse, facing up to 11 years in prison.