Far too often, merely being associated with a particularly scandalous criminal case is enough for a conviction. That may be what happened to one defendant in Florida’s now-infamous Mutual Benefits investment fraud case, an alleged Ponzi scheme involving more than $1 billion.
This particular defendant is a 64-year-old attorney who acted as trustee for Mutual Benefits’ investment accounts and who now insists upon his innocence. After an 11-week trial followed by eight days of deliberations, a jury acquitted the man of virtually all of the substantive fraud charges. However, apparently feeling he must have some connection to the scheme, the jury convicted him of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, along with two counts not mentioned by the press.
Yet despite being acquitted of 20 out of 24 charges, the conspiracy convictions are expected to put him federal prison for decades -- possibly for life. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February and, even though he had already posted a $2-million bond, the judge ordered the man to surrender immediately and be incarcerated at the Miami Federal Detention Center until that hearing.