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Guilty Plea In Hedge Fund Pyramid Scheme

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File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP) _ A Venezuelan man has pleaded guilty to charges that he aided an attempted cover-up of a massive, Connecticut-based pyramid scheme.

Federal prosecutors say Juan Carlos Horna Napolitano helped disgraced financer Francisco Illarramendi in an effort to throw off investigators from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by creating false documents.

Horna, a resident of Pembroke Pines, Fla., pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official SEC proceeding in federal court in Bridgeport. He is the third person to plead guilty in the case and he faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Illarramendi, a Venezuelan-American, has pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to his handling of hedge funds in Stamford, Conn. Investigators say his crimes could cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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