Debra Villegas - The Chief Operating Officer of the Ponzi Scheme Law Firm gets Maximum Money Laundering Sentence --
DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW by Monte Friesner ...
Financial Crime Consultant for WANTED SA...
Saturday October 09, 2010 -
Debra Villegas* the Chief Operating Officer of the Fort Lauderdale law firm whose senior partner, Scott Rothstein** received a 50-year sentence for operating a massive Ponzi scheme, this week herself was sentenced to the maximum for Money Laundering Conspiracy. Her sentence of 10 years in Federal Prison was expected by all.
She received this sentence notwithstanding her reputed extensive cooperation with law enforcement. Additionally, she was ordered to pay the same sum, as and for restitution as Rothstein; $ 363,172,140.26, and was also ordered to submit to three years of Supervised Release [similar to Parole) after serving her sentence.
Villegas went from legal secretary to paralegal to COO at the Rothstein firm, and was reportedly earning $250,000 a year. She allegedly forged signatures on bogus court documents, purporting to be large Court Settlements that were used to raise money in the billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
The Court ruled that the Defendant will not begin serving her sentence until next June, an unusual occurrence that generally signifies that she will be needed to testify, whether before a grand Jury, or at trial, against others to be charged in the Ponzi scheme.
Should she render sufficient Substantial Assistance to be granted a sentence reduction, her sentence could be substantially reduced most likely to five years. She must serve 85% of whatever final sentence she receives.
Villegas' former husband, Tony Villegas***, has been charged with First Degree Murder; he allegedly killed Rothstein law partner Melissa Britt Lewis, a close friend of the Defendant.
The facts and opinions stated in this article are those of the author and not those of WANTED SA. WANTED SA does not warrant the accuracy of any facts and opinions stated in this article; does not endorse them, and accepts no responsibility for them.