Fla. businessman pleads guilty in NY fraud, had duped investors with Facebook share promises

A Florida mutual fund executive accused of promising investors early shares in companies such as Facebook and Groupon and spending the money instead on cars and jewelry has pleaded guilty in New York.

John Mattera pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The plea agreement says he's likely to face 10 to 12 years in prison.

According to the complaint, Mattera claimed he owned more than a million shares of each company and told investors their money would be held in escrow.

The federal judge cited the 50-year-old Fort Lauderdale man's four prior convictions for similar crimes. He also has a contempt finding by a Manhattan judge in a civil case.

The judge ordered Mattera to stay behind bars while awaiting his Feb. 1 sentencing.