Law firm COO gets 10 year sentence for money laundering in Ponzi scheme

By Christine Duhaime | October 8th, 2010

Debora Villegas - Photo by Amy Beth Bennett - Sun Sentnel Debra Villegas, former chief operating officer of the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm run by Scott Rothstein, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years and ordered to pay US$363 million in restitution today in Florida. Villegas forged signatures on fabricated legal settlements that were sold to wealthy investors. Earlier this year, she pleaded guilty to money laundering for her part in the US$1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by Rothstein through his firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. Last summer, Rothstein was sentenced to 50 years in prison on money laundering, racketeering and other charges.

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