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Alleged Ponzi schemer pleads guilty

Alleged Ponzi schemer Vaughan pleads guilty, faces up to 20 years in prison By The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) ' A former Albuquerque real estate executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire and mail fraud and agreed to serve 10 to 20 years in prison to settle charges he ran a multi-state Ponzi scheme.

Doug Vaughan entered the plea in federal court in Santa Fe. Under terms of the deal with prosecutors, Chief Judge Bruce Black will determine his final sentence.

The 63-year-old Vaughan also agreed to pay a fine of up to $250,000, as well as any other restitution ordered by the Court. The plea agreement, which settles a 30-count indictment, also requires that Vaughan immediately forfeit previously seized cash and property.

Prosecutors say Vaughan swindled 600 investors in at least eight states out of more than $70 million.

Vaughan agreed to the deal last week, just a few weeks after court documents were unsealed showing his long-time assistant planned to testify against him.

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