Posted: Jul 23, 2010 4:58 AM by Andrea Fontenot
Source: Associated Press
A Louisiana businessman who pleaded guilty to defrauding about 180 mostly elderly investors out of nearly $20 million in a Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Matthew Pizzolato agreed to pay more than $15 million in restitution before he was sentenced.
Pizzolato pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and witness tampering charges in April.
Pizzolato had offices in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond and Lake Charles and advertised investment services under several company names, including Gulf Region Guaranty Inc.
Prosecutors said he promised high rates of return and claimed investors' money was protected against losses, but made risky investments they didn't authorize, gave away millions of dollars to
friends and family and spent much of the money on luxury items for himself.