A Lafayette woman faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to conning Acadiana investors out of more than $1.2 million.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley reported 52-year-old Catherine Doucet Romero of Lafayette pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Haik Monday.

Through an FBI-led investigation, authorities determined her investors, who thought they were funding an animal skin manufacturing company, lost $1.27 million when Romero used the cash to pay personal bills and expenses of an unrelated business. Those conned were told the facility that would be built would process exotic skins such as alligator and stingray.

“Ms. Romero conned individuals into believing that they were investing in a unique Louisiana business, knowing full well that she was going to divert their investment to her personal use,” Finley stated. “This case further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to deter investor fraud in Louisiana.”

Romero faces 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release for the wire fraud count and 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for the money laundering count. She also faces a $250,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture. A sentencing date was not set.