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CHiPs Star Gets Probation in Kickback Scheme

Larry Wilcox, CHiPs NBC

Maybe playing an officer of the law on TV isn't such a bad thing if you've committed a real-life crime.

Larry Wilcox, who busted bad guys as Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker along with Erik Estrada's Ponch on NBC's CHiPs, will avoid the inside of a jail cell after he was sentenced to three years probation for his alleged involvement in a securities fraud ring.

Guess they let him off with a warning...

RELATED: Wonder what Erik Estrada's been up to?

Per the South Florida Business Journal, Wilcox pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud for cooking up what authorities say was an illicit kickback scheme with at least a dozen others.

The group, which included pension fund managers and stockbrokers, was accused of manipulating the volume and price of a penny stock in order to enrich themselves from an employee pension fund.

In the end, the 63-year-old tube star and his cohorts got caught after meeting with undercover FBI agents in South Florida.

Wilcox could've gotten five years in the big house, but in return for his plea and his participation in helping round up the other fraudsters, a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale went easy on him.

"I think we've got an individual who is truly remorseful," said U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn. "The court does not want to send the wrong message but I don't think Mr. Wilcox should be sentenced because of his celebrity status."

Along with the probation, the CHiPs man was also ordered to pay $100 in court costs and perform 500 hours of community service.

For his part, Wilcox burst into tears as he told the judge how sorry he was, saying the fraud left him in financial ruin and having to declare bankruptcy.

"I think my actor's pride and ego led me into areas well beyond my ability to perform," said the troubled thespian.

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