BY JAY WEAVER
A longtime Fort Lauderdale lawyer who rolled the dice on a criminal trial — and lost — was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for his supporting role in a $1 billion-plus insurance-investment scam, among the largest financial frauds in Florida history.
Anthony M. Livoti Jr., convicted at a Miami federal trial in December, could have been sentenced up to 80 years for disbursing trust account funds to pay off insurance premiums to keep Mutual Benefits Corp.'s investment racket going for a decade.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola opted not to give the 65-year-old Livoti an effective “life sentence,” saying that his role in the Ponzi scheme was not like that of the mastermind, Joel Steinger, the head of Fort Lauderdale-based Mutual Benefits, who pleaded guilty on Friday rather than go to trial this week.
Ten other company executives and associates, including Steinger’s brother, have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced from 1 to 20 years.