A Chicago accountant will be spending the next 23 years behind bars for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme on hundreds of working-class Italian-Americans. The man spent years building the trust of retirees, widows, and immigrants in order to sell them phony promissory notes. According to authorities, the accountant raised $77 million from 473 investors. Early entrants received $59 million in interest payments, but later investors lost $31.6 million. The accountant, once a respected member of the Italian community, has become an object of scorn. “He said all the right things and even kissed us each and every time he saw us,” said one victim. “It was the kiss of death.”
A Panama City, Florida investment advisor has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, two years of house arrest, and eight years of probation in connection with scams he perpetrated on state seniors. According to authorities, the advisor pleaded guilty to 259 felony counts, including securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, theft from the elderly, and operating a scheme to defraud. Apparently, the advisor persuaded 92 investors to participate in various “savings clubs” which turned out to be nothing more than Ponzi schemes. After the advisor does his time, he will be required to make full restitution to all his victims.