Jury Convicts Alleged Former Marcos Mistress of Fraud
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The self-described former mistress of deposed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos has been convicted of defrauding 13 banks of $18 million by lying on loan applications.
Former B-movie actress Dovie Beams de Villagran, 55, wept Tuesday during the reading of the verdict finding her guilty of 39 counts of bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud. The jury deadlocked on two counts.
U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Ann Rymer rejected a request for bail and ordered Mrs. de Villagran jailed until her Dec. 14 sentencing. She faces a maximum prison sentence of 127 years.
The judge said she was aware Mrs. de Villagran tested positive for the AIDS virus and suffers from AIDS Related Complex. But Rymer said Mrs. de Villagran was convicted of concealing $6 million in antiques and art works from creditors and may have other hidden accounts.
Lawyers for Mrs. de Villagran said she had brain damage from blockage of an artery that supplies blood to the brain and also suffered dementia because of her exposure to AIDS.
The judge allowed the jury to hear evidence of Mrs. de Villagran’s health problems, but barred testimony about how her illness may have affected her ability to know she was committing a crime.
Prosecutors argued that Mrs. de Villagran, who lived in a luxurious Pasadena mansion, lied on a series of bank loan applications that she made millions in an auto exports business and that she raked in huge profits from large real estate holdings in Beverly Hills.
In reality, the government said, she juggled up to 60 payments a month on the loans obtained between 1983 and 1986 to maintain a lavish lifestyle. She sought new loans to pay off old ones until ″the bubble burst,″ Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Nessim told jurors.
Mrs. de Villagran’s purported involvement with Marcos, said to have occurred about 20 years ago, was the subject of the book ″Marcos’ Lovey Dovie″ by Philippine journalist Hermie Rotea.
Marcos has never denied the relationship, and prosecutors said publicity about the couple may have helped Mrs. de Villagran obtain millions of dollars in loans.
The federal indictment accused Mrs. de Villagran of concealing $6 million in antiques, Chinese ceramics and artwork after her husband, Sergio, filed for bankruptcy last year, pleading debts of $23 million.
The jury, which began deliberations Friday morning, deadlocked on two of the charges involving $245,000 in loans. The prosecution earlier requested dismissal of another charge.
Sergio de Villagran pleaded guilty to nine of the 42 counts Oct. 27 and faces up to 39 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 7.
Mrs. de Villagran, originally from Nashville, Tenn., is a former actress who appeared in such movies as ″Wild Wheels.″