The Real Deal Miami

Posts Tagged ‘ponzi scheme’

  • George Elia

    In a surprise move yesterday, former Fort Lauderdale real estate broker George Elia, pleaded guilty to running a Ponzi scheme, the Sun Sentinel reported. Elia was accused of swindling nearly $10 million from residents of the Wilton Manors gay community in Broward County.

    In all, Elia pleaded guilty to 10 fraud related charges that cost some of his 40 investors their entire life savings. [more]

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  • Ponzi schemer Cantens gets five years

    April 06, 2012 03:00PM

    Gaston Cantens

    Real estate businessman turned Ponzi schemer Gaston Cantens was sentenced to five years in prison by a U.S. District Judge, the Miami Herald reported.

    Cantens started his real estate investment firm, Royal West Properties, as a legitemate business, making speculative transactions in Southwest Florida, the prosecution and defense agreed, according to the Herald. [more]

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  • George Elia

    Fort Lauderdale real estate broker George Elia is under investigation for running a Ponzi scheme, the Sun-Sentinel reported. According to a $4 million lawsuit filed in Broward County Court by an alleged victim, Elia promoted himself as an investment advisor through his firm International Consultants & Investment Group, and promised annual returns of nearly 20 percent. [more]

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  • Gaston Cantens

    Gaston Cantens, a prominent Cuban-American businessman who ran development firm Royal West Properties, pleaded guilty yesterday for his part in a $135 million Ponzi scheme, the Miami Herald reported, the same day he was charged. It’s the second plea agreement he’s reached on charges, and this one includes a prison sentence of up to five years.

    When the real estate market crashed, Cantens misled investors about the financial performance of his assets and began paying off old investors with money collected from new investors. [more]

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  • Four homes formerly owned by Florida Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein will be auctioned off Oct. 4 by Broward County via an online auction site, the South Florida Business Journal reported. The waterfront Fort Lauderdale properties were seized by lender JPMorgan, which foreclosed on them and related entities for a combined $8.81 million. All the homes are on Castilla Isle and range in size from 2,600 square feet to 5,600 square feet. As previously reported, the disbarred attorney was sentenced to 50 years behind bars in June, after pleading guilty to perpetrating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Millions of dollars worth of personal property was revoked from Rothstein following his arrest, including 22 real estate properties, an 87-foot yacht and a fleet of pricey sports cars. [SFBJ]

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  • Former real estate talk show host Anthony Cutaia pleaded guilty to federal charges of mail fraud for running a commercial real estate-related Ponzi scheme today. Cutaia admitted to taking between $1 million and $2.5 million for commercial investments, but instead using it for personal gain, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

    Cutaia’s show was called “Talk About Mortgages and Real Estate.”

    In exchange for his plea to a single count of mail fraud, prosecutors agreed to drop seven additional counts of felony fraud against Cutaia, the Journal said. [more]

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  • The waterfront Fort Lauderdale home that belonged to Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein may soon go up for sale, along with several other luxury properties that federal prosecutors are seeking to forfeit to pay off the victims of his $1.4 billion fraud. The properties include two New York apartments and a pair of mansions in Rhode Island. Prosecutors are currently petitioning a judge to take title to the portfolio, and have already reached several agreements with outside parties who hold interests in the properties. Once the judge grants approval for the takeover, some properties will be auctioned, while others will hit the market through brokers. The 9,235-square-foot mansion, located at 30 Isla Bahia Drive in the tony Harbor Beach enclave, is the “main, main asset,” said Rothstein’s defense attorney, Marc Nurik. It has six bathrooms, eight bathrooms, an elevator, wine room, pool and hot tub, and was most recently appraised at $5 million. [Sun Sentinel]

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  • Hotel investor Robert McDonald, president of RAI Hotel Acquisition, was arrested yesterday and charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud in an alleged $1.5 million Ponzi scheme. McDonald is accused of funneling investor funds into his own personal accounts after promising to buy more than $100 million worth of hotels in Midwestern college towns. But McDonald never acquired the hotel portfolio and instead allegedly spent the investors’ funds on dental work, restitution for a previous fraud conviction and a home in Tampa, Fla.. He faces a maximum of 60 years in prison if convicted, plus millions of dollars in fines. TRD

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    Annette Bongiorno

    The $1.2 million Boca Raton home of Bernie Madoff’s longtime office supervisor could be seized as part of the federal government’s investigation into her boss’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Annette Bongiorno, who has not been criminally charged, was nonetheless hit with a civil lawsuit yesterday by federal prosecutors, who are seeking more than $5.1 million in her assets, including the home on Windsor Court in Boca Raton’s Woodfield Golf Club community, and a house in Manhasset, N.Y. valued at around $2.6 million. According to Palm Beach County property records, Bongiorno bought the 5,736-square-foot Boca Raton home in 1995 with her husband for $862,000 and finished paying off her mortgage in December. The latest suit follows one filed in June that asked her to turn over $1.1 million from a number of bank accounts, plus $1.3 million paid toward a high-end condominium and two luxury cars. [Palm Beach Post]

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  • Disbarred Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein has been sentenced to 50 years behind bars, after pleading guilty to perpetrating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Millions of dollars worth of personal property was revoked from Rothstein following his arrest, including 22 real estate properties, an 87-foot yacht and a fleet of pricey sports cars. Federal officials hope to use that money to reimburse those victimized by Rothstein. Among Rothstein’s group of investors was Manhattan-based developer Stephen Ross, whose Related Companies funneled $4 million to Rothstein’s firm. [Sunshine State News]

    [more]

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