The Real Deal Miami

Fort Lauderdale real estate broker accused of running Ponzi scheme

February 20, 2012 03:45PM

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.

The plaintiffs say they initially grew concerned when Elia was late in distributing money last year. Then, when they tried to withdraw their money, Elia consistently pushed back with excuses and delays. Meanwhile, court records show he transferred nearly $2.4 million from International Consultants to other companies controlled by he and his wife, and withdrew an additional $242,000 in cash.

In January, Elia and his wife suddenly vacated his Landings-area home. The Sun Sentinel said the FBI appears to be investigating his case. [Sun-Sentinel]