By Tony Hanson

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A convicted New Jersey con artist has pleaded not guilty in federal court in Philadelphia in a new case alleging he defrauded clergy and the elderly here and in Puerto Rico in a so-called “advance pay” scam that cost victims over a million dollars.

Adriano Sotomayor is accused of cheating more than 50 victims, starting with an elderly nun in Puerto Rico who was told to send “fees” to collect on an inheritance.

Later, according to authorities, other clergy were also targeted, and these victims unwittingly brought in additional victims.

Federal authorities allege this scam began shortly after Sotomayor was released from prison for an earlier scam.  Officials says that after he was charged, he fled and was a fugitive for more than three months until being arrested in Las Vegas (see related story).

Now, Sotomayor is in custody again, held without bail.  The continuing investigation recently resulted in a “superseding” indictment adding charges to this case.  He faces trial in February.  The defense declined comment.

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