- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - The lead defendant in one of South Florida’s biggest and longest-running fraud cases has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Joel Steinger is the final defendant to be convicted out of 13 charged in the Mutual Benefits scheme, which defrauded approximately 30,000 victims. Steinger, the former head of the corporation, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola on Friday. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Prosecutors say Mutual Benefits was a massive fraud scheme in which investors lost more than $800 million between 1994 and 2004.

The now-defunct company bought life insurance policies from people with AIDS, cancer and other chronic illnesses and sold them to investors. The investors would get paid when the original policyholders died.

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