The 69-year-old Donnan faced charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering related to his role with GLC Limited, a West Virginia-based company that dealt closeout merchandise.
Federal prosecutors argued that Donnan worked with a man named Gregory Crabtree to raise large sums of investment capital while promising high rates of return, then used that money to pay other investors in a pyramid scheme. Donnan relied on his extensive college football contacts to draw investments from several wealthy coaches and ex-coaches, leading to trial testimony from the likes of Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville, Texas State coach Dennis Franchione, NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried and former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie.
GLC Limited was eventually charged with bilking investors of some $80 million. Crabtree pleaded guilty last month to one conspiracy charge and faces up to five years in prison.
Donnan's lawyers argued that he was the "first victim" of Crabtree, and shared what he believed to be a sound investment opportunity with his friends in good faith.