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How a Fort Lauderdale Man was Arrested for $11 Million Fraud

ponzi-scheme-south-floridaFort Lauderdale is a premium area for investors. Unfortunately, with the amount of money flowing through the city in investments and ventures, there is a significant amount of crime that follows suit. Organized scheme to defraud is a crime that seems to be a common white-collar crime that makes South Florida headlines. Thursday, a Fort Lauderdale man was arrested for running an $11 Million fraud.

Fraud and Grand Theft

According to Florida Law, theft of more than $100,000 by fraud is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years and a $10,000 fine. The sentencing also varies depending on the type of fraud committed such as mortgage fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion, or organized schemes to defraud.

Fraud in Fort Lauderdale

A Fort Lauderdale business man was arrested Thursday after convincing several investors that he owned shares worth tens of millions of dollars of privately held companies like Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, and the game developer, Zynga.

John A. Mattera, 50, used a hedge fund he created called the Praetorian Global Fund to roll in the money he collected from optimistic investors. Mattera told the investors that he would keep the money secure in escrow accounts, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

According to a WPTV News report, Mattera spent at least $3.8 million of the investors’ money on personal expenses such as luxury cars, jewelry, home furnishings and interior design. He even began his own charity foundation that sponsored Florida Atlantic University football head coach Howard Schnellenberger’s weekly fan breakfasts. Mattera also joined the board of the American Red Cross Broward County Chapter. He has since been removed from the board.

IRS agents collected Mattera at his Fort Lauderdale home Thursday. He is being held and is facing extradition to New York. His charges include conspiracy to commit fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Fraud Criminal Defense

Mattera is going to need an extremely experienced criminal defense lawyer to get him a minimal sentence from these charges. If you have ever been accused of fraud of any kind, you will need legal help from a criminal defense lawyer. If your lawyer has a cooperative relationship with prosecutors, you may be able to settle for just paying restitution. In Florida, restitution outweighs incarceration.

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