Ponzi scheme could cost Boca man 20 years

WEST PALM BEACH — A Boca Raton man faces as much as 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of mail fraud in connection with a  multi-million dollar foreign currency Ponzi scheme.

Michael Riolo, 38, of Boca Raton owned and operated Sterling Wentworth Currency Group Inc. and LaSalle International Clearing Corp., which claimed to make money by trading in foreign currency. Riolo convinced more than 80 investors, including several current and former police officers to put their money with him.

According to court documents, from August 1999 to December 2008, Riolo attracted $44 million by lying about his activities. To encourage investors to pump more money into his firm, Riolo prepared monthly reports showing trading profits and growing account balances.

In classic Ponzi fashion, he would take money from newer clients and distribute it to older clients who were looking to withdraw funds. Instead of investigating clients’ money, Riolo spent it for personal uses.

Riolo is to be sentenced on October 16. in West Palm Beach before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra.

palm beach business.com
JULY 29, 2009 click to go home
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