Facing a potential prison sentence that would keep her in prison for life, the former payday loan store owner asked to withdraw her guilty plea to 110 federal crimes including money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud.
A judge denied that request earlier this month and set sentencing for November. He told her to arrive prepared for a federal prison term.
Nelson founded the Little Loan Shoppe in
In 2011 federal investigators unraveled her business dealings and uncovered a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of investors and about
Prosecutors accused her of reckless and illegal spending as Nelson gambled, traveled, bought jewelry, luxury vehicles and real estate, and used new investments to pay back older investments when her business failed to meet the rich promises of double-digit financial returns.
Nelson hired civil rights attorney
Nelson submitted a note to the judge from her parish priest in
Nelson's company remains mired in bankruptcy court and she is embroiled in separate litigation with the
Several lawyers have conferred with Nelson on her case, including criminal defense attorney
"They have never even sat me down to listen to my side of the story," Nelson wrote in a letter to Whaley requesting new representation. Nelson also wrote that she'd turned down a potential plea deal that would have sent her to prison for 10 years, instead choosing to continue fighting the charges.
When Nelson's defense team asked several months later for a renewed plea deal, prosecutors responded with a tougher offer: 30 years in prison.
Whaley denied the request for a change of attorneys, and within a week Nelson pleaded guilty to all 110 counts of the indictment.
In a report ahead of the November sentencing, prosecutors say they will provide evidence Nelson cost her investors more than
Each of the 110 criminal convictions carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
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