SENIORS HARMED: Judge Issues Findings In CFTC Case Against Matthew B. Pizzolato; Says Investors Lost Retirement Savings In Scheme

A Louisiania man charged criminally in an alleged Ponzi scheme and sued civilly on the same day last month lied to investors, some of whom liquidated retirement savings and annuities only to suffer massive losses by entrusting funds to Matthew B. Pizzolato, a federal judge has ruled.

The case against Pizzolato is proceeding on separate tracks: a criminal prosecution by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten with the help of the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the State of Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, and a civil prosecution brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of the Eastern District of Louisiana now has extended an asset freeze, enjoined Pizzolato from breaking commodities laws and issued some findings in the civil case.

Pizzolato is  26. He formerly resided in Tickfaw.

Among Lemmon’s findings were that Pizzolato and his co-defendants in the civil case — William Guidry, 35, of Plano. Texas, and Jacksonville, Fla., and Capital Funding Consultants LLC of Covington, La. — ripped off senior citizens. Guidry and Capital Funding’s assets also have been frozen, and they have been enjoined from breaking the law.

“Specifically, the order finds that Pizzolato, as part of a broader scheme in which he solicited $19.5 million, obtained more than $3.1 million from 24 mostly elderly investors, which he gave to Guidry to invest,” CFTC said.

“Despite representing to these elderly investors that their funds would be invested in safe, secure investments with guaranteed rates of return, Pizzolato gave the funds to Guidry to trade high risk commodity futures, among other things,” CFTC continued. “The order also finds that Guidry and Capital Funding misappropriated more than $221,815.53 of investor funds for personal purposes, and used some of those misappropriated funds to trade commodity futures in accounts owned by Capital Funding. The investors were not told about Guidry’s commodity futures trading losses. The order further finds that Guidry and Capital Funding commingled commodity pool participants’ funds with the funds of other persons.”

In the criminal case, which is being heard by U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk, Pizzolato was charged with 52 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering, and single counts of securities fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

He faces more than 1,100 years in prison and a fine of more than $16 million, if convicted on all counts. As many as 160 people were duped, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Pizzolato attempted to silence employees with bribes of $20,000 and get them to destroy records to cover up the scheme. Meanwhile, they said Pizzolato obstructed justice by stealing documents that could incriminate him from the home of a client.

Among the luxury items Pizzolato purchased with investors’ money were a BMW 750LI, a Mercedes Benz S430V, a Range Rover Sport and a Chevrolet Corvette, prosecutors said. He also bought sports tickets, a $35,000 engagement ring, a $500,000 home in Ponchatoula, La., and spent $35,000 on Carnival cruises.

All in all, Pizzolato took about $19.5 million from clients and spent “nearly all” of it, prosecutors said.

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8 Responses to “SENIORS HARMED: Judge Issues Findings In CFTC Case Against Matthew B. Pizzolato; Says Investors Lost Retirement Savings In Scheme”

  1. 26 Years old and already facing 1100 years in prison…Taking money from the elderly….This guy must have been brought up in a pool hall!

  2. “A Louisiania man charged criminally in an alleged Ponzi scheme and sued civilly on the same day last month lied to investors

    And here you have the essence of all ponzi schemes, whether it be an offline financial fraud, or an online one, including the autosurfs – lies.

    It doesnt matter how you dress it up; whether you call it an advertising company, whether you call it an unguaranteed investment in the ToS, the fundamental ingredient of all ponzis is the lie. Telling people that there is safety offshore, that they are paying it forward and sharing wealth, that they are legally protected, that the scheme was paying and will continue to do so. They are all lies told by owners and promoters of ponzis to capture victims to line their pockets – no more and no less.

    Without lies there no frauds, off or on line. For that reason they try to silence blogs like this one and to discredit organisations like Eagle Research Associates – because they tell the truth and the truth is a dangerous thing for those who only know how to make money by lying.

  3. To pull off a Ponzi scheme like this it takes more then one person .

    when will the law go after all involved ?

  4. Bernie Madoff pulled it off

  5. Josh: Bernie Madoff pulled it off

    That’s actually not quite true.

    * Madoffs’ CFO, Frank DiPascali, pleaded guilty to 10 felony counts in August 2009

    * David Friehling, Madoffs’ long term auditor pleaded guilty to nine criminal counts in connection with the scheme in October 2009.

    * The FBI arrested Jerome O’Hara and George Perez, who were program computers for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in November 2009.

    * The investigation is still underway, with reports that up to 10 more people are under scrutiny, either for direct involvement with, or facilitating the operation, i.e. brokers

  6. Well I’m sure Pizzolato is still under investigation and they will get everyone they need to. I don’t think the FBI is stupid. As long as Pizzolato is in jail, I’m satisfied.

  7. I was one of the victims. I can’t wait to testify in court March 29. Now I find out that the Pizzolato’s are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ironic as I had once been a JW but my crazy husband who committed adultery managed to have me disfellowshiped. Now I’m glad not to be associated with the organization regardless of my personal religious beliefs. What goes around comes around.

  8. Is the trial still March 29?