HAMMOND | A Merrillville man pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding friends of $1.5 million in an investment scheme.
Eugene Wilson Sr., 56, who is the father and namesake of a former Merrillville High School and professional football player, admitted to two counts of wire fraud during a Monday hearing in Hammond federal court.
In a separate case, Wilson Sr. was convicted in the spring on federal charges of scheming to avoid legal reporting of about $190,000 he received from his son, former National Football League player Eugene Wilson Jr., court records show.
In the most recent case, Wilson Sr. could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 after pleading guilty to the wire fraud charges. However, under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Wilson is asking for a 3 1/2-year sentence.
A sentencing date had not been set as of Monday afternoon.
As part of the scheme, Wilson Sr. admits in court documents he convinced three friends to give him more than $1.5 million with an investment promise of paying them back a high rate of return in a short period of time.
Wilson Sr. then sent most of the money to unnamed individuals in Europe and spent the rest, his plea agreement states.
One of the would-be investors gave Wilson $600,000, which was never repaid, court documents state.