Boca Raton currency trader Riolo sentenced to prison

By Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH — A Boca Raton currency trader has been sentenced to more than 24 years in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme that took investors for about $15 million.

Federal Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced Michael Riolo, 38, to 293 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release. Riolo owned Sterling Wentworth Currency Group and LaSalle International Clearing Corp.

According to court documents, Riolo convinced investors to put money with his firms by promising he would make substantial profits by trading foreign currencies. Among his more than 80 victims were several current and former police officers.

Instead of trading, Riolo used the money for other purposes, including his own personal use.

From August 1999 to December 2008, Riolo took in about $44 million. He distributed about $29.5 million back to older investors to create the appearance that he was making profits, according to prosecutors. That money wasn’t from trading profits but rather from newer investors, in classic Ponzi fashion.

“During these tough economic times, it is more important than ever that those who lie to and steal from the investing public be held accountable for their misconduct,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman said. “The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate these large-scale fraud schemes.”


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OCTOBER 16, 2009 click to go home
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