Florida Man To Plead Guilty In Investor Fraud

MIAMI (AP) — A well-known Cuban-American businessman is set to plead guilty in Miami to fraud charges arising from a $135 million real estate scheme that fleeced hundreds of investors.

The victims include the Roman Catholic prep school that 73-year-old Gaston Cantens once attended.

Court documents show that Cantens plans to plead guilty Wednesday to a single count of wire and mail fraud conspiracy. The charge carries a possible five-year prison sentence.

Federal prosecutors say Cantens operated his real estate company like a Ponzi scheme in which he paid older investors with money raised from newer ones. The company sold real estate investments in southwest Florida since 1993 but fell on hard times beginning in 2002. It was forced into bankruptcy in 2009.

Investigators say more than 150 investors lost some $47 million.

Source: Curt Anderson – AP