SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ A preacher convicted of laundering what he thought was Colombian drug money to save his debt-ridden church was sentenced Tuesday to 14 1/2 years in federal prison.

Dozens of church members showed up in court, and several wept as the Rev. David Brace pleaded with U.S. District Judge Ed Prado for leniency.

``The remorse and sorrow that I've had has been very deep,'' said Brace, 44. ``I was a fool, and I admit that openly to this court.''

Brace has said he was under pressure to save his debt-ridden Faith Metro Church in Wichita, Kan., when he got caught up in an alleged money laundering scheme that actually was a sting by federal agents.

Brace, who confessed to his part in the plot, was convicted in December on four counts of laundering $350,000. He also was fined $10,000.

His financial consultant, Shannon Knox, 26, who was convicted on two money laundering counts, was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $2,500.

Involuntary bankruptcy proceedings have been filed against the church.

Defense lawyer Roy Barrera Sr. said an appeal was likely. He said Brace's devotion to his congregation drove his desperate search for money.

``It's unwarranted and an abuse of discretion to incarcerate this man for 14 years,'' Barrera said. ``His only desire was to help his church.''

But the judge followed mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, and denied requests that Brace be freed on bond pending possible appeal.

Brace's wife, Tammie, and mother, Nora, sobbed and hugged him before federal marshals ushered him away to jail.