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Jonathan Barnes: Friend of Houston Socialite Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

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Jonathan Barnes, the Bellaire oil trader whose ill-gotten gains include Frank Sinatra's 1957 Caddy, pleaded guilty today to fraud and money-laundering charges, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.

Now very worried: The two other defendants who have been charged in the scheme.

Feds say the three were involved in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme centered on LyondellBasell's operations in Venezuela.

"From January 2007 through January 2010, Barnes agreed to have [an LB subsidiary] pay approximately $82 million above market prices for shipping [oil] in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks from the individuals receiving the inflated payments," the feds said today.

Among the booty seized when the trio was arrested: 11 Mercedes-Benzes, two sets of diamond earrings, a "silver diamond pendant necklace," a "gold 'Cartier Roadster' watch," a silver Rolex and "a silver diamond and ruby necklace, bracelet and earrings set."

There were also luxury homes, including, according to the Houston Chronicle, one brought by Barnes for Leslie Tyler Fink, who's often the subject of talk -- either horrified or praising -- among the River Oaks set.

Swamplot gave a tour of the house, here.

Barnes agreed to forfeit $82 million, prosecutors say. He will be sentenced in June.

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