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Defendant in $670M scam enters guilty plea in Va.

•  National News     updated  2011/11/22 09:47


A man who cooked the books for a $670 million insurance industry scam pleaded guilty Monday to charges he helped mislead thousands of investors worldwide.

Jorge Luis Castillo, 56, Hackettstown, N.J., entered pleas in U.S. District Court to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud in U.S. District Court. He is scheduled for sentencing May 22 and could receive up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $250,000.

Castillo, who originally was scheduled for trial in 2012, will assist the government's prosecution of Minor Vargas Calvo, 60, the president and majority owner of Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd., a Costa Rican company. He is scheduled for trial in February. He has pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

The government called Castillo a "gatekeeper" for Provident. As a certified public accountant, he cast himself as an "outside auditor" and falsely reported a rosy financial picture for the company, which had a global client base.

"This is truly an international fraud in scope," U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in a conference call after Castillo entered his plea. "As a result of Mr. Castillo's crimes, a lot of people lost life savings to life settlement companies because of the worthless guarantees that Mr. Castillo helped create.

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