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‘Dare to be Great’ Founder Sentenced to Prison

August 20, 1987 GMT

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ The founder of the ″Dare to be Great″ motivational program was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for using an illegal pyramid scheme to bilk people out of thousands of dollars.

Glenn W. Turner, 53, was sentenced along with Edward G. Rechtor by Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Dougherty, who said he had received scores of letters on behalf of the two Goldenrod, Fla., men.

Turner and Rechtor, who also received seven years, were convicted in July of 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud and promoting a pyramid scheme. Jurors found them innocent of 27 counts of securities violations involving Challenge Inc., a motivational company.

The two men told Dougherty before sentencing that they never intended to break the law.

″If anybody was hurt by our program or suffered because of it, I am sure sorry,″ Rechtor said. ″Our intent was to help people. Our intent was never to go out and commit a criminal act.″

Later, as he was leaving the courtroom in handcuffs, Turner told reporters, ″I think history will tell what I really was. The good that I have done outweighs the bad. A technicality of the law is what got me.″

But Barnett Lotstein, an assistant state attorney general who helped prosecute the case, said the sentences ″satisfied the interest of justice.″

″A lot of books have been written about Mr. Turner and today we’ve put the final period in the final chapter of the saga of Glenn Turner,″ Lotstein said.

He said neither man would be eligible for release from prison before serving at least two-thirds of the sentence.

Turner, Rechtor and a third man, Alan K. Oaks, were accused of defrauding Arizona residents who were promised incomes of $1,000 to $3,000 a month if they invested $5,000 to become sales people for Challenge Inc.

Investors were subjected to highly emotional sales and promotion techniques in a process described by company insiders as ″jacking up″ prospects, Assistant Attorney General R. Jeffrey Woodburn said during the trial.

The $5,000 investment paid for motivational seminars and tapes, but the indictment said the real business of the pyramid operation was to induce more people to invest money to become salespeople who, in turn, were expected to recruit others.

Oaks pleaded guilty last year to one felony count of operating an illegal pyramid scheme and agreed to testify against Turner and Rechtor.

Attorneys for the two said their convictions would be appealed and asked that they be freed on bond until their appeals are heard.

But Dougherty denied bond and ordered both men to begin serving their sentences immediately.

The Challenge program was similar to Turner’s ″Dare to be Great″ program, which won him national attention during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the state attorney general’s office said.

More than 88,000 people have invested about $44 million in various organizations operated by Turner, according to Federal Trade Commission figures cited by Attorney General Bob Corbin’s office in 1980.

Corbin’s office won a civil case against Turner over Challenge in 1983, ordering him to pay $1.5 million in restitution and $1 million in penalties.