Chael Sonnen pleads guilty to federal money laundering charge in Oregon (Updated)

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The hits just keep on coming for the former number one middleweight contender.

Lake Oswego Review reports that Chael Sonnen was in an Oregon court today, admitting that he "conducted a financial transaction designed to hide or disguise the ownership and control of proceeds of mortgage fraud."

Sonnen, a licensed Realtor, could be fined up to $500,000 and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, depending on the severity of the infraction.

For the uninformed or simply unaware, mortgage fraud is "very serious," according to Marcus Williams, a special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigations for the Pacific Northwest:

“West Linn residents, and other residents throughout the Portland-Vancouver area, can rest assured knowing that federal law enforcement agencies take mortgage fraud very seriously because it played a major role in almost crippling this nation’s banking system just a few years ago."

Sonnen's sentence is scheduled to be handed down at 11:30 a.m. on March 28, 2011.

That's right around the same time he is due to stop serving a six-month suspension from the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for having elevated levels of testosterone in his system after losing to middleweight champion Anderson Silva via stunning submission in August 2010.

When it rains it pours. More on this breaking news as the story unfolds.

**UPDATE: Sonnen pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of money laundering in U.S. District Court and will face a recommended sentence of two years' probation. Sonnen has also agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and give up his Realtor's license, according to The Oregonian (via the Las Vegas Review Journal).

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