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Inmate, lawyer convicted of fraud

A Florida prison inmate who collected $90,000 by promising fellow convicts he and his lawyer could secure them a presidential pardon was convicted Wednesday on fraud charges.

A Tampa jury found Albert Doll, 54, guilty of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

His attorney, John Samaha, 65, of St. Petersburg, had pleaded guilty to similar charges and testified for the prosecution in a two-week trial.

Doll and Samaha, who had been suspended from practicing law in Florida, devised a scheme to defraud federal prisoners and their families by saying Samaha had powerful contacts among government officials and politicians in Washington who could obtain presidential pardons for convicts.

They demanded payments of $300,000 to $500,000 and had between August and December 1994 received $90,000 from prisoners' relatives when they were caught.

They face a five-year prison term, a $250,000 fine or both.