WORCESTER – In February 2017, Kevin A. Perry Jr. owned two restaurants in the city, was two years into a marriage and nearly 10 years removed from a prison term for selling drugs.

Monday, dressed in beige prison garb in U.S. District Court, the 44-year-old was sent back to prison for 14 years after admitting to financing the restaurants and other city properties with drug money in a case that also has led to charges against his bride and two others.

"I need therapy to deal with my childhood demons," Mr. Perry told the court in a teary-eyed statement before his sentencing. He apologized to the public for selling fentanyl, saying he "contributed to people's misery," and said he "found out" that his wife, Stacey Gala Perry, stole drug proceeds that he claimed he intended to forfeit to the government.

Mr. Perry - who court records show filed for divorce April 12 - is to spend 14 years in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. He forfeited nine area properties, along with more than $500,000 and two vehicles, though Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg A. Friedholm isn't convinced that Mr. Perry has informed the government of all his assets.

Mr. Friedholm, who asked for a prison sentence two years longer than Judge Timothy S. Hillman dispensed, noted that Mr. Perry spent about $1.5 million on the properties at a time he was purportedly making around $60,000 annually as a personal trainer before being laid off and collecting unemployment. The prosecutor said Mr. Perry - jailed in 2005 for selling the drug ecstasy - had told an inmate he'd hidden "millions" from the feds.

Mr. Friedholm also noted that Mr. Perry, as part of his plea deal this time around, agreed to take a lie detector test, which found him to be "deceptive" on the question of disclosure of assets he might still have under his control.

"This is an individual who has earned a 16-year sentence," Mr. Friedholm said, detailing a fentanyl dealing operation in which some buyers didn't know what they were getting.

Mr. Friedholm said Mr. Perry was selling pills labeled to look like 80 mg oxycodone pills that came from Canada, where drug makers had lagged in making forms of oxycodone resistant to crushing up for snorting. But the pills actually contained fentanyl, an extremely deadly opioid that he noted needed little introduction to the court.

James H. Budreau, Mr. Perry's lawyer, told Judge Hillman the pills did not contain a large amount of fentanyl. He also pushed back on the polygraph test, saying research shows such tests are often not reliable.

Mr. Budreau, without citing anything specific, said childhood experiences played a role in his client's criminal acts. He argued there wasn't much difference to the public between a 14- and a 16-year-sentence, and noted his client would be looking at life behind bars if he reoffends.

"I know what I've done is wrong," Mr. Perry, who appeared to have several supporters in the gallery, said a few minutes later, pledging to seek treatment to ensure he changes his ways. Mr. Perry's wife was not in court Monday.

Mr. Perry’s downfall led to the closing of three restaurants in the city, while another two formerly owned by an associate also caught up in criminal activity are planning to reopen soon.

Mr. Perry’s wife and two others were charged in connection with concealment of hundreds of thousands in drug proceeds after Mr. Perry’s arrest. The government, following an order by a federal judge, has clearance to sell the nine properties Mr. Perry bought with illicit proceeds.

Mr. Perry pleaded guilty in October to nine counts of money laundering, three counts of aggravated cash structuring, one count of fentanyl distribution and one count of making a false statement on a loan application.

Prosecutors in October said they could prove Mr. Perry, from 2012 to 2016, used more than $1 million in drug proceeds to buy and renovate the nine properties, including the now-defunct restaurants The Usual at 166 Shrewsbury St. and The Blackstone Tap at 81 Water St.

Mr. Perry’s wife, Ms. Gala Perry, applied for and was granted the liquor licenses at both establishments. Police last year said they did not know Mr. Perry owned the buildings when they checked Ms. Gala Perry's background, but that it wouldn’t have mattered because they had no legal reason to reject her.

Police said they told Ms. Gala Perry that Mr. Perry – released from prison in 2008 after a federal conviction for selling ecstasy - should not be managing the business and that her application did not mention he would be involved.

But, when Mr. Perry was arrested in March 2017, authorities said he’d financed the restaurants and seven other properties with drug money.

Ms. Gala Perry and two of her husband’s associates, Joseph Herman and Christopher Slavinskas, then concealed more than $300,000 of the drug proceeds from the government, authorities have alleged. Part of the money was used to renovate The Usual and reopen it as The Chameleon.

That restaurant also failed, and the trio were charged this spring in connection with their alleged roles in concealing the cash.

Ms. Gala Perry is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mr. Herman is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering, witness tampering and making false statements to investigators.

Mr. Slavinskas has already pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities. Court documents show he told investigators he helped conceal $200,000 in drug proceeds when in reality he helped conceal $330,000, but spent at least $130,000 of it on himself and others.

Mr. Slavinskas was involved in management at the popular The Hangover Pub and companion ramen bar Broth on Green Street. Both restaurants shut down after his arrest; owners say they are reopening with new management.

Mr. Slavinskas is due to be sentenced June 29, while Ms. Gala Perry and Mr. Herman are due back in court June 8.

Mr. Perry's sentence also includes a money judgment of nearly $1.2 million against him should additional assets be located.