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Feb 20, 3:32 PM EST

Adviser gets 3+ years prison in Rothstein $1.2B Ponzi scheme

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- An adviser to a major investor in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by disbarred lawyer Scott Rothstein has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge James Cohn imposed the 42-month sentence Friday on 71-year-old Frank Preve, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy. Preve's attorney is asking for home confinement and probation, citing his extensive cooperation and serious health issues.

Preve worked with the Banyon Group, which invested in Rothstein's supposedly confidential but bogus legal settlements. Court documents say Preve failed to inform the investors about problems with Rothstein's operation before its 2009 collapse.

Preve's lawyer says he was unaware the settlements were phony.

More than two dozen people have been convicted in the Rothstein case. Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison term.

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