A Maryland man who generated at least $158,000 by selling pit bull puppies online but not delivering the animals promised was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison.

Fonjeck Eric Azoh, 42, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Washington after pleading guilty to a charge of wire fraud in August. He must also pay $158,000 in restitution and forfeit $67,000 seized by law enforcement during the investigation, among other payments.

He faced up to 20 years in prison. Azoh’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Multiple family members submitted letters to the court calling for Azoh’s release.

“I am writing this letter to show how much me and the children missed him,” his wife wrote. “My husband is a very good and caring father.”

The scheme involved at least 119 victims who lived in 40 different states, according to prosecutors, and unfolded between January 2019 and October 2020.

Court documents describe an intricate ploy that Azoh designed to enrich himself through advertising pit bull puppy adoption on different websites. He directed his victims to pay for the dogs through a money transfer service, Walmart2Walmart, and then asked for more money to cover “unanticipated expenses” for the animals that, in fact, did not exist, according to the criminal complaint.

Azoh collected the money at Walmart stores across the District and surrounding states, prosecutors said. The probe began when Walmart representatives contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s investigative arm concerning suspicious financial activity in the Washington region.

Azoh previously admitted to law enforcement that he was involved in the fraud, but said he was the “middle man” and only took a 30 percent cut of the money. He said he sent the rest to Africa, according to the criminal complaint.

Azoh has been in custody since he was arrested in January.