Man pleads guilty in $150M scheme

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Updated: 5/08 3:49 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The disgraced former owner of the Sacramento Capitals tennis team faces 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in connection with a $150 million Ponzi scheme.

Federal officials announced Thursday that 63-year-old Deepal Wannakuwatte pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in furtherance of the scheme.

Wannakuwatte was accused of conning investors and bankers into financing his medical supply business by claiming he had $125 million worth of contracts when in reality the contracts were worth only $25,000 a year.

As part of the plea deal, Wannakuwatte agreed to forfeit properties, vehicles, business interests and bank accounts as restitution to victims.

His lawyer told the Sacramento Bee that a plea was more appropriate than a trial because his client had been facing 90 years in prison.

Wannakuwatte is scheduled for sentencing July 24.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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