Federal court records in Houston strongly suggest that a New Orleans woman is poised to plead guilty in a case in which she stands accused of bilking millions of dollars from former Saints running back Ricky Williams, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman and two other pro athletes.
Peggy Ann Fulford, 59, is set to attend a so-called rearraignment hearing tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9 in front of U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, records filed Wednesday show.
Rearraignment hearings typically signal a defendant's intention to plead guilty, though it is not clear to which specific charges Fulford may plead guilty or what kind of sentence she may receive.
A guilty plea would allow federal prosecutors and Fulford's public defender, Philip Gallagher, to avoid a complicated trial that could last as long as three weeks. Gallagher declined comment on the upcoming hearing.
Described as an ex-resident of Houston, Fulford ran financial management firms in Georgia and Florida but misled her clients about having studied business and law at Harvard, authorities alleged in an eight-count indictment that was handed up in Texas last year.
Multiple athletes hired the New Orleans native to pay their bills, handle their income taxes and make retirement investments, among other things — but she was charged with keeping millions of dollars for herself and buying cars, jewelry, airline tickets and land.
Court documents accuse Fulford of receiving help from associates who have not been identified.
The indictment alleged at least four men fell victim to the scheme from about 2001 to 2014, but it named only one: Williams, who won college football's Heisman Trophy at the University of Texas before playing for the New Orleans Saints and later the Miami Dolphins.
Representatives later identified the remaining sports figures whom they say Fulford is charged with bilking: Rodman, who won NBA titles with the Pistons and the Bulls; Travis Best, a former member of the Indiana Pacers; and Lex Hilliard, an ex-Dolphins teammate of Williams.
Accused of wire fraud, mail fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering, Fulford could face 30 years in prison if she is convicted as charged. She has pleaded not guilty for now and was released from jail after her arrest last year on an unsecured bond of $25,000.
A New Orleans woman charged with bilking millions of dollars from one-time Saints running back Ricky Williams, ex-NBA champion Dennis Rodman a…