Italian firm duped expats into fake investments: lawsuit

Woman says she's out $500,000 after being promised double-digit return in 18 months

New York /
Aug.August 28, 2020 04:05 PM
Platinvm Property Group's Nicola Pedrazzoli and Massimiliano Bonetti and 1632 Pacific Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps; LinkedIn)

Nicola Pedrazzoli and Massimiliano Bonetti and 1632 Pacific Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps; LinkedIn)

A firm used a web of limited liability companies to lure Italian expats into forking over cash for real estate investments it never made, a woman’s lawsuit alleges.

The firm, Platinvm Property Group New York, promised double-digit returns in 18 months, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Despite that classic red flag, and a five-page investor pitch light on details, Elena Romagnoli committed $500,000, a portion of which she was told would go into a real estate investment trust with a “super safe portfolio [of] commercial real estate all based in NYC,” the lawsuit said.

But the firm, controlled by Nicola Pedrazzoli and Massimiliano Bonetti, never made purchases on behalf of the investors, the lawsuit alleges. Now Romagnoli is suing to get her money back — and $4.8 million in damages, plus court fees.

Romagnoli made the ill-fated investment in 2015. But a year after her initial investment, the firm allegedly failed to make good on its promised return and requested an extension, which Romagnoli granted.

A similarly named group, Platinvm Property Group International, was then written in as the debtor — but it is a non-existent, bogus company controlled by Platinvm Property Group New York, according to the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for Platinvm Property Group New York, reached by phone, did not immediately comment on the lawsuit. Attorneys for the plaintiff did not return a request for comment.

Romagnoli’s filing cites a previous lawsuit against the company alleging that it solicited and received investments from other Italian expats during the same period through an affiliated firm called Vulcano Ventures. According to court papers, it promised to purchase and make capital improvements on Brooklyn real estate on behalf of Riccardo Riccardi and other undisclosed investors.

Instead, the firm purchased a three-story walkup at 1632 Pacific Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, according to a 2017 court filing, and left the property undercapitalized, eventually sending it into foreclosure.

Meanwhile, Bonetti was “bouncing checks all over town” while continuing to take money from investors, the court papers allege.

The firm lists the fifth floor of 110 Wall Street, a building leased by WeWork in the Financial District, as its headquarters. Its LinkedIn website claims that it has offices in Miami, Milano, Barcelona, Madrid and Rio De Janeiro.


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