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September 28, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

New Era Founder Indicted on 82 Counts: John G. Bennett Jr., founder of the now-bankrupt Foundation for New Era Philanthropy in Radnor, Pa., is accused of running a pyramid scheme that took in more than $350 million from charities and philanthropists who believed promises that anonymous benefactors would double their money in as little as six months. A federal grand jury in Philadelphia handed up an 82-count indictment charging Bennett with mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and other federal offenses. If convicted, Bennett could face more than 900 years in prison and fines totaling $28 million. Bennett pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bail.

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