A lawyer who stole $53 million from two insurance companies, leaving more than 12,000 customers with worthless policies, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Allen W. Stewart was also fined $150,000 Wednesday and ordered to pay restitution of $60.1 million to policyholders and to the state's insurance guarantee fund.U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III said Stewart used "financial and legal sleight of hand" to drain millions of dollars from Summit National Life Insurance and the Equitable Beneficial Life Insurance Co.

Witnesses said Stewart bought the companies in highly leveraged deals, using the companies' own assets to take them over. Authorities said he siphoned off policyholders' premiums and filled the companies' books with worthless notes and assets from other companies he created.