CHARLOTTE, N.C., OCT. 24 -- Jim Bakker, the charismatic televangelist who fell from grace in a sex and hush-money scandal, then was convicted of fleecing his flock of millions of dollars, today was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $500,000. "I'm deeply sorry for those I have hurt," Bakker said as he stood before U.S. District Judge Robert Potter. "I have sinned. I've made mistakes. But never in my life did I intend to defraud anyone." Potter rejected a plea that Bakker be released on bond pending selection of a permanent prison home, and ordered U.S. marshals to take him into custody immediately. "Those of us who do have religion are sick of being saps for money-grubbing preachers and priests," Potter said. "I just feel like there was massive fraud here and it's going to have to be punished." Bakker betrayed no emotion when the sentence was pronounced at 3:30 p.m., later smiling at guards who led him away. Daughter Tammy Sue Chapman, 19, a former singer on the "Jim and Tammy Show," broke into sobs. Bakker's wife, Tammy Faye, was not in court. Bakker had faced a maximum sentence of 120 years, but the judge consolidated the 24 fraud and conspiracy counts on which he was convicted to nine, and sentenced Bakker to five years on each. He could be eligible for parole in 10 years. Within an hour of the sentencing, Bakker, wearing handcuffs and leg irons, was whisked out the back door of the federal courthouse and into a brown sedan for the drive to his temporary home at the Federal Correctional Institution in Talladega, Ala. "We love you, Jim!," shouted dozens of supporters among some 500 spectators who came to show their faith in a TV preacher who built a religious theme park resort and a $129 million-a-year PTL ministry and satellite TV network with teary appeals for cash. Bakker smiled and raised his handcuffs to the window as the government sedan roared off toward the federal prison 60 miles east of Birmingham. The sentencing was an emotional climax to America's longest-running soap opera saga of sex, sin and salvation, as Bakker's attorney launched into a 30-minute filibuster for forgiveness. He even suggested his client be allowed to return to the now-bankrupt and deserted Heritage USA resort to raise money and restore it -- and go to prison if he failed. "Maybe somewhere along the line it did get off the track, but he is a man of love, compassion and character who cares for his fellow man," said Harold Bender. "Do you have anything else to say?" Potter asked, as Bakker stood to apologize. Then it was the government's turn as prosecutor Jerry Miller jabbed a finger at Bakker. "This is one of the biggest con men ever to come this way," he declared. "Any concept that Mr. Bakker was acting out of a call from God needs to be stripped away. This man is a common criminal." Miller zeroed in on how Bakker raised $158 million by promising lifetime, three-day-a-year lodging packages for $1,000 to his viewers, among them elderly devotees on fixed incomes, then diverted $3.7 million in salary and bonuses to support his lavish lifestyle. "He used a widow's mite for his own obscene gratification and pleasure," said Miller, who characterized the 49-year-old preacher as a man corrupted by money and power who in turn corrupted those around him, until he became "a ruthless man who loved things and used people." Potter, hands folded as if in prayerful contemplation, peered over bifocals. Now it was his turn to live up to his nickname, "Maximum Bob," for the stiff prison terms he metes out regularly to everyone from drug dealers to white collar criminals. Last summer, he'd sentenced three PTL staffers to hard time, albeit in minimum security prisons called "Club Feds." Richard Dortch, Bakker's former right-hand man as the ministry's executive vice-president, drew eight years in jail and a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty to reduced charges in exchange for testimony against his former boss. David Taggart, Bakker's former top personal aide, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for tax evasion and conspiracy. His brother James, the ministry's former $120,000 a year interior designer, was jailed for just under 18 years on the same charges. The two were fined $500,000. Now it was their boss's turn to be judged. A hush fell over the courtroom as he ticked off a laundry list of how Bakker indulged himself with the cash he raised before he resigned his PTL ministry in March 1987 over a sex scandal involving church secretary-turned Playboy centerfold Jessica Hahn: $600,000 for a home in Palm Desert, Calif.; another home in Gatlinburg, Tenn.; a $600,000 Florida condominium; a $5,000 Christmas tree; three Mercedes; and $265,000 to keep Hahn quiet about their 15-minute fling. "The ones who were hurt are the ones I'm concerned about," said Potter. "I think his {Bakker's} supporters are blind to what he's done." In a mumbling drawl dripping disdain, he read from a recent fund-raising letter dispatched by Bakker's Orlando TV ministry, which went off the air after Bakker was found guilty of all charges against him on Oct. 5 in a sensational six-week trial. Then Potter tallied up the jail time, 45 years, and levied the fine, in addition to $1,500 in administrative costs. Bakker stood with his head cocked to one side, stoic, folding manicured hands in front of a natty gray double-breasted suit. Potter spurned a request that Bakker be released on bond until he can appeal for fear he might flee with the help of overzealous believers. "I'm concerned about the hundreds of letters I have here from people who say they'd do anything for him and that could include preventing {him} from going to prison," he said. "I believe them ... I think we're going to have to put him into custody." At that point, daughter Tammy Sue broke into sobs. "Any more outbursts and I'll have the marshals get you out," snapped Potter, as agents ringing the courtroom moved in. She regained control. Soon, her father was gone, changing from his expensive suit into stoned-washed blue jeans, a shirt and a blue windbreaker. Outside, there was a final convulsion of weirdness as tourists and believers told of their passions and lined up to purchase "Go To Jail" T-shirts from local radio station promotion manager Sonja Barbee. "Just like the {Barbie} doll," she said, holding up the logo: "Go directly to jail, do not pass the plate, do not collect any more money in the name of the Lord." Laura Bliss, a visitor from Anchorage married to a former federal prosecutor, bought one. "We're taking a year off to see America and this is part of America," she said. Nearby, Bakkerites pledged their faith. "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings and I ain't sung yet," said Gertrude Bradley, 62, a city worker from Jacksonville, Fla. "I look for angels to intervene," said Gene Kennett, a pastor from Erie, Pa. "Even the Apostle Paul was put in prison." Bender said he would appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. "Rev. Bakker is in as good spirits as can be expected," he said. Earlier he had described his client as frightened. "He's concerned about the length of the sentence, but he has strong faith and will come through." Miller pronounced the sentence "appropriate," but declined to share personal feelings after a grueling 2 1/2-year investigation by the FBI, U.S. postal inspectors and Internal Revenue Service agents that built the case. "This case has a lot of tragedy in it," he reflected. "Our position was, once the fraud was committed, it was necessary to prosecute."