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January 21, 2010
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Disgraced Vail Valley philanthropist begs NY court for freedom

NEW YORK - Vail Valley philanthropist Alberto Vilar is begging a New York court for mercy before his sentencing for conspiracy fraud, saying he's too sick for prison.

The Cuban-born investment adviser and namesake of Beaver Creek's Vilar Center could face 22 years in prison on Feb. 5. A judge in 2008 ordered him imprisoned to await sentencing.

In a letter to the judge, the 69-year-old Vilar says he's "not in good health" and asks to be freed.

Vilar says he now realizes: "I am to blame for my fall."

Vilar was once a donor to cultural institutions worldwide, including opera houses. The Metropolitan Opera's Grand Tier was once called the Vilar Grand Tier.

He was convicted of bilking $40 million from investors in his San Francisco-based company, Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc.

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The Summit Daily Updated Jan 21, 2010 05:15PM Published Jan 21, 2010 02:15PM Copyright 2010 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.