John Ward Tower, a would-be film producer from Forest Hill, was sentenced to 60 days in prison for stealing money from a bank account set up with a partner to make a movie called "Cocoa Beans."
Harford Circuit Judge Maurice W. Baldwin Jr. sentenced Tower to five years in prison during a hearing Thursday, but suspended all but 60 days of the sentence.
Tower, of the 800 block of Bear Creak Court, will be eligible for the work-release program while serving his sentence.
He also was ordered to complete three years' probation and pay $1,585 in restitution to his former partner, Christopher Boardman of Joppa.
Before issuing the sentence, Judge Baldwin denied a request for a new trial for the defendant.
Tower, 39, was convicted of one count of theft during a jury
trial in May. He faced a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in jail on the charge.
The prosecution previously dropped 38 counts of forgery against the defendant.
Tower and Mr. Boardman established Genesis Communications Inc. in 1988 to produce a full-length theatrical film about a man importing cocoa beans from Africa.
The partnership attracted at least five investors who each bought $5,000 worth of stock in Genesis. Prosecutors said at the trial that little of the money went toward making "Cocoa Beans."
Instead, Tower diverted the money from the partnership's bank account and used it for himself, the prosecution said. The money was used for Republican Party events, a trip to Miami and Maryland Golf and Country Club fees.