Peggy Fulford mug shot

Peggy Fulford, via Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

A New Orleans woman admitted Thursday that she scammed Ricky Williams, Dennis Rodman and two other pro athletes out of at least $3.5 million, posing as a financial adviser but ultimately pocketing their money for herself. 

Peggy Ann Fulford, 59, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in federal court in Houston. She faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a maximum fine of $250,000 at a sentencing hearing scheduled for April 26, court filings showed Friday.

Fulford has also agreed to pay restitution to her victims, who also included former NFL player Lex Hilliard and former NBA player Travis Best.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will drop charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, which were listed in the eight-count indictment that a grand jury returned against her in December 2016.

The plea was entered in front of a federal magistrate judge and is expected to receive final approval from a district judge.

Court documents outline how Fulford falsely told the athletes she targeted that she had studied law and business at Harvard before making millions working on Wall Street, buying and selling hospitals, and investing in real estate in the Bahamas.

She promised she would pay their bills, file their income taxes and make retirement investments for them free of charge because she was already wealthy and wanted only to protect them from losing their money.

Between 2001 and 2014, Fulford raided several bank accounts she had gained access to, spending the money herself. Prior filings said she spent the money on cars, jewelry, airline tickets and land before she was caught and reported to the authorities.

The only victim named in the indictment was Williams, who won college football's Heisman Trophy before playing for the New Orleans Saints at the beginning of his NFL career. But agents and other representatives later identified the other sports figures she was involved with, the most prominent of whom was Rodman, an NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls.

The federal case in Houston isn't the only legal problem that has ensnared Fulford.

Two days before her guilty plea, New Orleans police arrested her on allegations that she persuaded a friend to invest $174,000 with her so that they could buy the former Lower 9th Ward campus of Holy Cross School and redevelop it into an assisted living community for the elderly.

But the property was never put up for sale, and Fulford's friend has yet to recover his money. She was booked on a count of theft.

Fulford, who's gone by several other names, posted $750 bail to secure her release from jail Tuesday in New Orleans. In the Houston case, she will continue to be out on $25,000 bail as she awaits sentencing.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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