Illarramendi Headed To Prison For Fraud Next Year

Nov 27 2012 | 11:08am ET

Hedge fund fraudster Francisco Illarramendi ate Thanksgiving dinner this year in the certain knowledge that next year, he won't be doing so at home.

A federal judge in Bridgeport, Conn., made it clear Wednesday that he'll send Illarramendi to jail on Jan. 25. U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill said he wouldn't necessarily sentence Illarramendi for running at $540 million fraud, but that he'd at least revoke his bail at the hearing in two months.

The move, which seemed to surprise Illarramendi, came after prosecutors complained that his decision to part ways with his lawyer was just another attempt to delay his sentencing, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 30.

Underhill granted Alex Hernandez's motion to be replaced as Illarramendi's lawyer, citing a conflict of interest and what he characterized as a breakdown in his communications with Illarramendi. The judge also appointed a public defender to temporarily replace Hernandez, with another lawyer to take the new lawyer's place next week. But his solicitousness would go no further.

"I'm happy to give anybody as much time as they want to prepare for sentencing, provided it's not a vehicle to delay," Underhill said. The judge added that Illarramendi could "go into custody and spend as much time as you need."

Illarramendi, who pleaded guilty in March to defrauding investors in his Michael Kenwood Group and Highview Point Partners hedge funds, faces up to 70 years in prison.

"On Jan. 25 at 10 a.m., we will either sentence you or take up the government's motion to revoke your bail," the judge told Illarramendi.

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