Rothstein cohort pleads guilty to wire fraud conspiracy

Court documents allege Frank Preve knew Ponzi schemer wasn't keeping commitments to investors

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Another figure in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by disbarred lawyer Scott Rothstein has pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale federal court.

Court records show Frank Preve pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud conspiracy, which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence. Sentencing was set for Dec. 12.

Preve ran the Banyon Group, which invested in Rothstein's supposedly confidential but ultimately bogus legal settlements.

Court documents say Preve was aware a few months before the scheme collapsed in 2009 that Rothstein was not keeping his commitments to the Banyon investors and that Preve failed to inform them. Preve's lawyer has described the violations as mainly technical.

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

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