Opera Patron Alberto Vilar Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud Charges

Classic Arts News   Opera Patron Alberto Vilar Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud Charges
Philanthropist Alberto Vilar pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he robbed a client of $5 million, the Associated Press reports.

Vilar was once one of the world's most prominent opera patrons, giving millions to the Royal Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, and other performing arts organizations. After his high-tech investments lost much of their value, he failed to fulfill a series of pledges.

Last month, Vilar was arrested and charged with taking $5 million from a client and using it for personal expenses and to make donations to the American Academy In Berlin and Washington and Jefferson College. He was later indicted for investment adviser fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Vilar remains in jail, unable to make his $10 million bail, and made his plea in federal court yesterday dressed in a prison jumpsuit.

According to the New York Times, Vilar's lawyer, Susan Necheles, said at the hearing that her firm might withdraw from the case.

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