Jury convicts opera-loving philanthropist

November 19, 2008 9:00:33 AM PST
A Manhattan jury has convicted philanthropist Alberto Vilar after prosecutors accused the investment adviser of swindling investors out of millions of dollars. Federal prosecutors accused Vilar and a business partner of falsely telling investors their money would be safely invested. The government alleged that the men actually poured millions of dollars into risky technology stocks before the stocks crashed.

The mother of actress Phoebe Cates testified that $5 million of her money was mishandled by Vilar and a co-defendant.

Defense attorneys insisted that Vilar was innocent and that he never intended to mislead anyone.

The charges included conspiracy to commit securities, mail, wire and investment fraud.

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