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Metro Digest

Local News in Brief : Guilty Plea in Ponzi Scam

February 02, 1988

A former San Fernando Valley bank president and church leader pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to 12 counts of mail fraud in connection with a multimillion-dollar real estate loan scheme in which 100 elderly investors were bilked.

Following a plea bargain last week, O. Monroe Marlowe, 74, admitted in Los Angeles federal court that he operated a so-called "Ponzi" scheme, making high interest payments to early investors with the money of later investors.

Marlowe, who was extradited from West Germany in late November, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge A. Andrew Hauk on March 21. He faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and a $360,000 fine.

In exchange for the plea, the government agreed to dismiss 18 other mail fraud counts against Marlowe. Prosecutors also agreed not to prosecute Marlowe in two other alleged phony investment schemes.

Under the agreement, Marlowe will forfeit several business holdings with an estimated worth of $550,000 in order to make partial restitution to his victims.

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