Published: Oct 08, 2010 3:33 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 08, 2010 12:33 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A former executive at the South Florida law firm run by convicted Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein is facing prison for her role in the $1.2 billion scam.

A sentencing hearing is set Friday for Debra Villegas, former chief operating officer at Rothstein's now-defunct Fort Lauderdale firm. She pleaded guilty in June to money laundering conspiracy and admitted helping Rothstein draft fake legal documents.

Villegas faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence but is seeking leniency because she cooperated with investigators. Her attorney claims Villegas did not know the extent of Rothstein's scheme, which involved investments in nonexistent legal settlements.

Rothstein is serving a 50-year sentence after pleading guilty to five charges.