Scam Ringleader Now Faces Bigamy Count

From Times Staff Reports

An Arleta woman convicted of running a pyramid scheme that bilked investors out of millions of dollars is scheduled to be arraigned today on a new charge of bigamy, authorities said.

Mercedes Navarrete, 55, is accused of marrying Felix Navarrete in March 2000 without divorcing Richard Beebe, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Kraut.

She is expected to be sentenced Friday for her October conviction on counts of grand theft, securities fraud and tax evasion. Victims were required to pay $75 to join a group and buy long-distance phone cards. In return, they were told they could earn free homes and cars if they persuaded others to join the group, prosecutors said.

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