Thomas Root, the lawyer who was found with a gunshot wound following an airplane crash in the Atlantic, pleaded no contest Friday to 364 counts of securities fraud, conspiracy and related charges.
Under a plea bargain, Root agreed to a 15-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine, which will not be imposed until January.The state dismissed 91 other charges against Root.
Root, who faced up to 1,812 years in prison if convicted of all 455 charges, called the agreement an "offer so attractive to me that I could not refuse it."
Root, 37, passed out in the cockpit of his single-engine plane during a flight from Washington to Rocky Mount, N.C. The plane, which was shadowed by military planes, eventually crashed in the ocean off the coast of Florida.
Root was pulled from the ocean after the crash and rescuers discovered he had been shot in the abdomen. Root has insisted that a pistol he kept in the plane discharged during the crash.
Root's state sentence will run concurrently with any federal sentence he receives. Root pleaded guilty to five federal securities charges in June and is awaiting sentencing.