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Oct 20, 3:01 AM EDT

Broker latest guilty plea in Rothstein Ponzi scam


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A South Florida broker has become the latest person to plead guilty in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by convicted swindler Scott Rothstein.

Richard Pearson of Miami pleaded guilty last week to wire fraud conspiracy. Pearson faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 9.

Court documents show Pearson acted as a broker for investments in some phony legal settlements peddled by Rothstein, a former lawyer. In return, investors paid Pearson a sales commission.

One such group of investors agreed in 2009 to put their money in five of Rothstein's purported legal settlements. That group wound up losing about $2.4 million.

Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for running the scheme. More than two dozen other people have been convicted.

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