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Baton Rouge man pleads guilty to scamming $500,000, promising to share nonexistent trust fund

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — A Baton Rouge man has admitted defrauding people out of more than half a million dollars by promising to pay them back later from a multimillion-dollar trust fund, federal prosecutors say.

U.S. Attorney Walt Green said in a news release Monday that 34-year-old Johnathan E. Williams pleaded guilty Friday to wire fraud.

As part of his guilty plea, he admitted that from 2008 through 2011, he defrauded many people to get money for gambling and other personal expenses.

Williams told victims he would repay them when he got control of the supposed trust fund, according to Green.

Green said Williams could get up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and an order to repay the money when U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson sentences him.

A Florida man sent Williams and his associates about $300,000, starting in February 2009, Green said. He said the man asked in June 2009 about repayment and Williams faxed a letter on an attorney's letterhead falsely stating that Williams had a trust fund holding more than $20 million.

The FBI is still investigating, the news release said.

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