Posted: Nov 20, 2009 1:59 PM by Kelly Spell
Updated: Nov 20, 2009 10:21 PM
Source: Associated Press
A businessman who had offices in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond and Lake Charles was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he defrauded investors out of roughly $19.5 million.
Investigators say Matthew B. Pizzolato used investor funds to buy such personal luxuries as cars, furniture, jewelry and cruises, as part of a Ponzi scheme.
The charges include securities fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The indictment says Pizzolato advertised investment services under company names including Gulf Region Guaranty Inc. between 2005 and 2008.
Authorities say Pizzolato promised investors their money was protected against losses. But prosecutors said Pizzolato used it in high-risk futures trading and other risky ventures that investors didn't authorize.
The indictment says Pizzolato used about $600,000 of investors' money to pay for the construction of his home in Ponchatoula.
On Thursday, another Ponchatoula resident was charged in a separate state court case alleging he defrauded at least 200 investors of $11 million.