Anne Hathaway's ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty this morning to an elaborate con that netted him millions from unsuspecting investors -- and ultimately cost him his actress girlfriend.
Raffaello Follieri, 30, appeared in Manhattan federal court today where he entered a guilty plea as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors to reduce his sentence and avoid trial.
The Italian entrepreneur, who was infamously dumped by Hathaway before his arrest, has been in plea discussions with federal prosecutors for weeks.
He could have spent up to nine years behind bars if a jury had convicted him of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Instead, he will get a considerably shorter prison term when he is sentenced on Oct. 3. Follieri agreed not to appeal any sentence of up to five years and three months in prison.
He also agreed to repay $2.4 million and forfeit 12 watches, according to a court document. The document also said he was required to surrender jewelry, watches and other items that were recovered from an "individual" -- most likely Hathaway. They included gold and silver Rolexes, silver bracelets and earrings with stones, a five-strand gold and pearl necklace and a Louis Vuitton box.
Follieri has been in federal custody, held on $21 million bail, since his June 24 arrest for swindling investors out of millions.
Claiming close ties to the Vatican, Follieri convinced investors that he could give them first dibs on surplus Catholic Church properties. He then stole up to $2 million from his investment firm, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and blew it on a lavish lifestyle that included a $37,000-a-month apartment, vacations, clothes and gifts for Hathaway.
Follieri used his good looks and charm to work his way into a network of the rich and powerful, including former President Bil Clinton, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, designer Oscar de la Renta and the Pope. Using such high-powered connections, he was able to sign lucrative real estate deals, particularly with Clinton's billionaire pal Ron Burkle.
The scheme came crashing down after Burkle and others cried fraud.
The "Get Smart" actress ditched Follieri six hours before his arrest, according to Vanity Fair, which added that Hathaway was cooperating with federal investigators.
"You were the love of my life," Hathaway told Follieri, according to the magazine. "I'll always love you. You know that, baby."
Hathaway's rep Stephen Huvane refused to comment for this story.
The actress recently told W magazine for its October issue: "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.' And then I spent a week in shock at a friend's house."
She continued, "It's a situation where the rug was pulled out from under me all of a sudden. But just as suddenly, my friends threw another rug back under me."
Once, at director Jonathan Demme's home, she told the magazine, "I just started to cry because I thought, I don't have a life right now. And I haven't for some time, and I just haven't noticed."
Since the split, Hathaway has been able to focus on her career.
The 26-year-old actress has received rave reviews for her performance as an ex-drug addict imploding on her road to recovery in the Demme comic drama "Rachel Getting Married," which was recently screened at the Toronto Film Festival and is scheduled to be released Oct. 3.