updated 4/6/2005 12:23:01 AM ET 2005-04-06T04:23:01

A federal judge rejected a plea bargain from a Yarmouth man accused of conducting a series of Internet scams after the man threw a pitcher of water across the courtroom at a prosecutor who called him a thief.

U.S. District Judge George Singal on Monday sentenced Charles Stergios, 21, to more than six years in prison for scams that cheated 321 people out of $421,000. Singal said he imposed a stricter sentence because Stergios had fought efforts to pay back his victims.

"You have shown a complete lack of remorse in this case," Singal said. "In my view, you are likely to perpetrate when you come out of incarceration."

Stergios wrote bogus checks to buy merchandise through eBay and sold items he didn't own, according to court records. His victims reported that he mocked them and sent insulting e-mails to those who complained about being cheated.

Stergios was to be sentenced Friday but the hearing was postponed after he threw a water pitcher at Assistant U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank.

In rejecting the plea bargain agreement, Singal sentenced Stergios to a year and three months more than prosecutors had requested.

In court, Stergios said he couldn't help himself and that he had become addicted to money the way others get hooked on drugs or alcohol. "Money was my drug, my obsession," he said.

Among Stergios' victims was a military serviceman who wanted to sell his computer to buy Christmas presents for his children. Another was a retired New York City detective.

Stergios pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. He acknowledged defrauding more than 50 victims out of more than $200,000. But more victims and more losses came to light after the plea was entered.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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