The best selling author of The Secret told people they would find enlightenment on his "Spiritual Warrior" retreat, if they entered the in the lodge, made of willow trees and branches, and covered with tarpaulins and blankets.
He warned participants in a recording of the event played during the trial that the sweat lodge would be "hellacious" and that participants were guaranteed to feel like they were dying but would do so only metaphorically.
He said: "The true spiritual warrior has conquered death and therefore has no fear or enemies in this lifetime or the next, because the greatest fear you'll ever experience is the fear of what? Death."You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it's OK to die."
Sadly Kirby Brown, 38, James Shore, 40, and Lizbeth Marie Neuman, 49 passed away for real after entering the entering the extremely hot lodge which had stones in the middle that Ray poured water on.
A further 15 fell ill in the sauna like ceremony.
Yavapai County Superior Court judge Warren R. Darrow scolded the snake oil salesman, telling him he had not acted responsibly at the ceremony.
He told James: "There is a factor of deterrence that is very prominent in this case ... when a person has your incredible abilities to gain peoples' trust there is a lot of responsibilities that go along with it,"
"I find the aggravating circumstance is so strong that probation is simply not warranted in this case ... A prison sentence is just mandated."
But he hardly backed up his words, sentencing him to just two years behind bars.
Ray had faced a maximum sentence of three years in jail on each count.
He also ordered Ray to pay restitution of $57,514.12 to the victims' families and a fine of $20,000, plus a surcharge.
The dead were among 56 participants who paid nearly $10,000 each to take part in Ray's "spiritual warrior" retreat, and were crammed into a four-foot tall sweat lodge, packed with superheated rocks, at the ceremony. Shore, 40, and Brown, 38, were pronounced dead at the scene, while Neuman, 49, died several days later at a hospital in Flagstaff.