Former Sunflower CEO gets 30 days in jail for attempted pandering

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Michael Gilliland By Jennifer Thomas Michael Gilliland By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The former chief executive officer of a grocery chain who was arrested in a child prostitution sting was sentenced to 30 days in jail for his guilty plea to misdemeanor attempted pandering.

Then-Sunflower Farmers Market CEO Michael Gilliland was also sentenced to one year probation.

Gilliland was arrested in February 2011 after police said he went to a hotel to meet an underage girl for sex. The girl he was planning to meet was an undercover officer.

"I sincerely regret the mistake that I made that brought me here today," he said in court Tuesday. "I understand the damage that I've caused and I take full responsibility for my actions."

Gilliland founded Wild Oats Market and then sold it to Whole Foods. He went on to start Sunflower Farmers Market. Gilliland resigned from his position following his arrest.

He faced a sentence ranging from probation only up to 18 months in jail.