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.
“Any hope for a future for George Elia left the building today and that feels very good,” Michael Imbesi, a California investor, who is part of the $4 million lawsuit against Elia. “He can take off his tie and put on his orange jumpsuit.”
Nine of Elia’s charges can each carry up to 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced May 14 by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams. [Sun Sentinel] —Christopher Cameron