Published: Sep 09, 2013 11:17 AM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - On the eve of trial, the alleged mastermind of an $800 million insurance investment fraud scheme wants a delay because of his ill health.
    
Former Mutual Benefits Corp. chief Joel Steinger appealed to a federal judge Monday to allow time for spinal surgery doctors say he needs. Steinger needs a wheelchair to get around and is on strong pain medications.
    
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola did not rule immediately but said jury selection would begin Tuesday as scheduled. Steinger and another defendant are facing fraud and money laundering charges.
    
Prosecutors say they falsely portrayed as safe what were risky investments in life insurance policies held by terminally ill people. Investors would pay the sick person a discounted amount upfront and collect the full policy when the person died.

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