|By Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But because he didn't cut a plea deal like a dozen other defendants -- including most recently the Ponzi scheme's mastermind -- Livoti could be sentenced up to 80 years for manipulating trust accounts to keep
Still, because Mutual Benefits' investors lost more than
U.S. District Judge
Livoti's defense attorney,
Hirschhorn said his client earned between
Hirschhorn noted that 11 of the 12 convicted Mutual Benefits executives and associates received prison terms ranging from 1 year to 20 years.
"Livoti is 65 years old," Hirschhorn wrote in a court filing. "He asks for the opportunity to still have some meaningful life beyond incarceration."
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Rochlin said a "severe sentence is called for," without recommending a specific number of years.
The once-high flying
The investors bought the policies at a discount, with the promise of receiving full value upon the death of the beneficiaries. Ultimately, they lost
Livoti, as trustee, controlled Mutual Benefits' investment accounts. Livoti was convicted of using newer investors' money to pay the premiums on older life-insurance policies. Prosecutors called it a classic Ponzi scheme.
But Livoti's attorney, Hirschhorn, argued that the prosecution miscast his client's part, saying he was actually kept in the dark about the investment scam by Mutual Benefits executives who manipulated him to line their own pockets. He said Livoti's principal role was to ensure that the premiums on policies were paid up so that they would not lapse and investors could be made whole when beneficiaries died.