Businessman linked to actress to plead guilty

September 9, 2008 12:28:18 PM PDT
The ex-boyfriend of Anne Hathaway is expected to plead guilty to an elaborate con that netted him millions from unsuspecting investors - and ultimately cost him his actress girlfriend. Eyewitness News is told 30-year-old Raffaello Follieri will appear in federal court in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday morning, where he is expected to enter the plea. The hearing was postponed from Tuesday afternoon.

The Italian entrepreneur, who was infamously dumped by Hathaway six hours before his arrest, has been in plea discussions with federal prosecutors for weeks.

Follieri would likely spend up to nine years behind bars if a jury convicted him of wire fraud and money laundering. A plea deal would net him a reduced sentencing range of five to 6 1/2 years.

Follieri has been behind bars, held on $21 million bail, since his June 24 arrest for swindling investors out of millions.

Officials say claiming close ties to the Vatican, he convinced the unsuspecting investors that he could give them first dibs on flipping Catholic Church properties. He reportedly stole up to $6 million from his investment firm and blew it on a lavish lifestyle that included apartments, vacations, clothes and gifts for Hathaway.

The "Get Smart" actress dumped Follieri six hours before his arrest, according to Vanity Fair, which added that Hathaway was cooperating with federal investigators.

"You were the love of my life," Hathaway told Follieri, according to the magazine. "I'll always love you. You know that, baby."

Since his arrest, Vatican officials have disavowed any connection to Follieri.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick