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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photo: Sian Kennedy

He was an ace fiber-optics executive by day. And a gun-toting, cop-impersonating defender of justice by night.
Photo: Sian Kennedy

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.

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