Jason Wiley and his accomplices netted less than $3,000 during a violent, three-day crime spree in Las Vegas in August 2010.
But Wiley, 29, the father of two small children, will be paying for the crimes the rest of his life.
Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd George on Thursday sentenced Wiley to 237 years and three months in prison for his leadership role in nine armed robberies, mostly at convenience stores.
George also ordered Wiley, who is now in federal custody, to pay $2,931 in restitution.
The prison term is believed to be one of the longest ever in a federal case in Nevada that did not involve a homicide.
In November, a federal jury convicted Wiley of conspiring with Christopher DiBlasio to commit the robberies between Aug. 21, 2010, and Aug. 23, 2010.
DiBlasio, who was 18 at the time, struck a plea deal with prosecutors and was given a 25-year prison sentence that, according to Wiley's lawyer Bret Whipple, was reduced to 15 years because of his cooperation in the case.
DiBlasio pleaded guilty to 10 robberies and testified against Wiley during the six-day trial.
He admitted that he fired his handgun in two of the robberies - one round at a clerk's feet at Emerald Suites, 4777 Cameron St., and two rounds into a slot machine at a Terrible Herbst, 10590 Southern Highlands Parkway.
Prosecutors, however, described Wiley during the trial as the "mastermind" behind the crimes. Wiley drove the getaway car.
The crimes were dubbed the "wig" robberies by authorities because in many of them, at least one of the suspects donned a wig.
Whipple questioned during the sentencing the logic of ordering so much prison time for his client.
"Somebody has to stand up at some point and say common sense has been breached," Whipple told George.
Wiley, in chains and jail garb, read a statement to George pleading for leniency.
He said he turned down a plea deal that would have landed him 32 years in prison because he didn't want to be away from his children that long.
Wiley contended that DiBlasio was more culpable in the robberies.
He told George that he felt remorse for his actions and wanted a "second chance in life" so that one day he could become a productive member of the community.
"I ask this court to give me an opportunity to give back something of value to society," Wiley said.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu responded that Wiley deserved to be behind bars the rest of his life for enlisting the help of DiBlasio and another teenager, Wiley's stepson, Lamont Curry, who was 17 at the time.
Chu also asked George to consider the victims of the robberies, many of whom are still recovering from the terror of the crimes.
In the end, George said he was obligated under federal law to hand out the stiff penalty because weapons were used in the robberies.
"This is a very sad affair," George said.
"In my opinion, this defendant was in charge. Tragically, I think Mr. Wiley is a dangerous person."
Afterward, Whipple said he would appeal both Wiley's conviction and sentence.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden issued a statement saying the prosecution was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which focuses on serial robberies and other armed robbery offenses.
The FBI and Metropolitan Police Department participated in the investigation.
"This prosecution should serve as a warning to anyone contemplating the use of a firearm in a robbery or other violent offense," Bogden said. "Robberies are inherently violent crimes - so introducing a gun into a robbery only magnifies the danger of citizens being harmed.
"Congress has created stiff mandatory sentences for use of a firearm in a violent crime, and this office will actively use these tools to get defendants using guns off the streets for long terms of imprisonment."
George sentenced Wiley to 63 months in prison on the robbery charges, seven years on the first charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence and 25 years for each of nine other firearms charges.
According to prosecutors, Wiley provided DiBlasio and Curry with their weapons, gave them disguises, rented the getaway car, picked out the businesses to rob, and drove them from target to target.
Curry, who is serving a minimum 10-year prison sentence, was prosecuted in state court because authorities were able to get a stiffer penalty for him there as a juvenile.
Contact reporter Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.