Ponzi Schemer Who Did Business With Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina Pleads Guilty

Yesterday, Luis Felipe Perez, a Hialeah jeweler who federal prosecutors say swindled $40 million from victims who invested in his Ponzi scheme, agreed to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He will have to pay up to $1 million in fines and could get a maximum of 50 years in prison.

But the feds are recommending he serve sentences for both counts concurrently. Perez, known in Hialeah social circles as "Felipito," will also have to give up his Lladro porcelain figurine collection, which as documented in New Times, are perhaps the most ridiculously expensive tchotchkes money can buy.

When he wasn't spending other people's money on figurines and diamonds, Perez was showering political contributions to several Hialeah politicians including former Mayor Raul Martinez and his successor Julio Robaina. Perez also did business with Robaina's wife, obtaining a $100,000 loan from her at 18 percent annual interest. Perez repaid the debt even though Robaina told El Nuevo Herald earlier this year that his spouse was one of the Ponzi schemers alleged victims.

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