by: Ken Lemon Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jerry Helms, who pleaded guilty to cheating investors, realized he made a costly mistake by saying too much in court Friday.
He could have gotten off without paying anything but now his victims can hold him accountable for more than $1 million.
"The state came out winning more than it had," said Locke Bell, district attorney.
Helms wanted his sentence shortened, claiming his attorney in 2013 didn't tell him that he had to serve 2 1/2 years in prison.
The judge disagreed.
"I am not seeing anything wrong," Judge Jesse Caldwell said.
But because Helms claimed poor representation his attorney-client privilege was waived.
"I now have all of the information the defendant gave his lawyer,” Bell said.
That is the information Helms didn't share with investigators, including names of all the victims and how much the victims lost when they thought they were investing with him.
That information is sealed from the public.
In the original sentence, Helms victims would have had to hire an attorney, dig up evidence and file a civil suit to try to get their money back.
The district attorney said Friday the victims will not have to file suit.
He will use the new evidence to contact the victims and hold a restitution hearing in criminal court.
“They can now come into court whenever I have my hearing and testify as to the damages," Bell said.
Prosecutors believe that will be more than $1 million.
Helms' new attorney had no comment on the hearing.
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