Lawyer pleads guilty in insurance scam

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A lawyer involved in what authorities say was a $100 million life insurance fraud scheme has pleaded guilty in federal court in Richmond.

Prosecutors say 51-year-old Russell Mackert of Spring, Texas, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bulk cash smuggling. He faces up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Mackert was an attorney for A&O Life Funds, which bought life insurance policies from insured people at less than face value and then collected the benefits when those people died. Prosecutors said company officials illegally portrayed investments in their company as risk-free and guaranteed double-digit returns. They say about 800 people throughout the U.S. and Canada were victimized.

Mackert admitted misleading investors and trying to hide $10 million in profits from the scheme in offshore bank accounts.

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