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Iowa woman pleads to mail fraud in loan scheme

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A southern Iowa woman who convinced friends to loan her hundreds of thousands of dollars under false pretenses has pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

Beverely DeRonde of Pella entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Des Moines under an agreement in which prosecutors dropped 11 other charges.

The 61-year-old acknowledged that she fraudulently asked relatives and acquaintances to loan her money so she could buy birthday and anniversary presents to surprise her husband or equipment so he could open a boat shop. Instead, she actually used the money to buy antiques, jewelry and Rolex watches for herself while failing to repay them.

DeRonde remains free on bond, but faces a possible prison term at her sentencing in April. She also agreed to pay full restitution, which hasn't been calculated.

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