Financial adviser to the stars Kenneth I. Starr of Starr & Co. pled guilty before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Friday to ripping off $50 million from A-listers including Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Uma Thurman, Nora Ephron and Al Pacino.
The 66-year-old Starr told the judge he improperly used his clients' money for his own purposes. His attorney, Flora Edwards, told the court: "He's committed a horrendous error in judgement. This was truly a horrendous error. I don't think it was greed. He made a real bad mistake, and he's deeply sorry for it."
The three counts that Starr pled guilty to - wire fraud, money laundering and adviser fraud - carry a sentence of up to 12 years. He still faces 20 additional counts and charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara said: "Kenneth Starr is a tale of fiction and fraud, in which he played the role of legitimate investment adviser to a cast of unsuspecting victims."
When prosecutors arrested Starr on May 27, they found him hiding in a closet of his $7.5 million Upper East Side condominium, which the government has since seized. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
Starr's fourth wife, former Scores stripper Diane Passage, failed to show up for her husband's court appearance on Friday. Her lawyer, Giovanni DiStefano, told The New York Post Passage needed to look after her 12-year-old son. A recent Vanity Fair feature on Starr and his misdeeds paints the picture of a man who knew how to tell his celebrity clients what they wanted to hear about the far reaches of their wealth, and whose own personal greed continued to grow as he remarried.
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