First Sentencing Set In Conn. Ponzi Scheme

Dec 14 2011 | 3:53am ET

The first of three men to plead guilty in a $540 million hedge fund Ponzi scheme will learn his fate today.

A federal judge in Connecticut will sentence Juan Carlos Guillen Zerpa this morning. Prosecutors are seeking between 27 and 33 months for the Venezuelan accountant, who admitted to producing a bogus letter verifying $275 million in imaginary assets.

Zerpa and another man, Juan Carlos Horna Napolitano, who has also pleaded guilty, were paid more than $3 million for the letter by Francisco Illarramendi. Illarramendi has also pleaded guilty, to running the Ponzi scheme at his Michael Kenwood Group and Highview Point Partners.

Guillen will be sentenced in January. Illarramendi’s sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

The receiver in the case has said he expects to recover between $310 million and $350 million. Most of the losses were borne by the pension fund of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.

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