Hathaway Ex Gets Smart, Pleads Guilty

Raffaello Follieri pleads guilty to 14 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering; faces up to five years in prison

By Gina Serpe Sep 10, 2008 4:43 PMTags
Raffaello Follieri, Anne HathawayDimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com

Anne Hathaway's former flame Raffaello Follieri is staring at some some quality time behind bars.

The so-called Vati-con pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in Manhattan District Court this morning. He now faces up to five years and three months in prison and could be deported as a result of his plea.

"I did not have investor authorization to use the money that way," the 30-year-old Follieri stated after pleading guilty to all 14 counts stemming from his June 24 bust. "I knew what I did was wrong."

Unable to pony up his hefty $21 million bail, Follieri has been behind bars since his arrest, which—perhaps not so coincidentally—took place just six hours after being dumped by the movie star.

His attorney, Flora Edwards, told Judge John Koeltl that his client was having a "difficult time" in prison and that the past two-and-a-half months have been "very hard on him."

As a result, his sentencing hearing has been moved up from December to Oct. 3.

Follieri has been negotiating with prosecutors to reach a deal on a litany of charges. Authorities said the Italian import lied about Vatican ties in order to buy church properties well below their going rate only to flip them at a fast profit as well as diverting up to $6 million from investors to finance his—and an unknowing Hathaway's—high-rollin' lifestyle.

All told, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering. As part of his plea, he also agreed to pay back $2 million.

Since his arrest, Vatican officials have disavowed any connection with Follieri or his stateside activities. As has Hathaway to the feds, and, more recently, the public.

"As soon as I found out about the arrest, I had to get on a plane to Mexico to do a press tour for Get Smart," the actress told W magazine. "And then I spent a week in shock at a friend's house.

"It's a situation where the rug was pulled out from under me all of a sudden."

As it is, Follieri's plea was originally expected to be entered on Tuesday, but his hearing was briefly postponed to allow for last-minute negotiations. Should the Italian entrepreneur have taken his chances at trial, he could have faced up to nine years behind bars.