• Central Fla. businessman pleads guilty to fraud

    ORLANDO, Fla. - A central Florida businessman has pleaded guilty to a $44 million bank fraud conspiracy.

    Pedro "Pete" Benevides pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

    Prosecutors say Benevides obtained 20 loans and lines of credit worth $44 million from several federally insured institutions.

    Prosecutors say he gave the financial institutions documents that contained false information. He then used the loans to pay off earlier loans he had taken out, pay his business expenses and fund living expenses for his family.

    Benevides also was ordered to forfeit $40 million in cash and three exotic cars.

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    Central Fla. businessman pleads guilty to fraud