Providence fraudster jailed for 20 years

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A FRAUDSTER who set up a $150m. Ponzi scheme which also received funds from Guernsey residents has been jailed for 20 years by a court in Minneapolis, USA.

Antonio Buzaneli at a Guernsey Funds Forum in London, 2014.

The main architect of the scam, Antonio Carlos De Godoy Buzaneli, 57, admitted the crime and received the longest sentence handed down by the court.

His co-conspirator, Jose Manuel Ordonez, Jr., 48, was sentenced in January to 10 years. A third man involved, Julio Enrique Rivera, 62, will be sentenced on 16 April.

Buzaneli and the other two were the principals of Providence Holdings International Inc., a company based in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Buzaneli and Ordonez also became principals of Providence Financial Investments, Inc. and Providence Fixed Income Fund LLC (referred to collectively, along with Providence Holdings International, Inc. as ‘Providence’)

Last year, former financial adviser Christopher Byrne was sentenced to seven years in prison in Jersey for fraudulently selling investment opportunities connected with Providence, which was a major shareholder in Lumiere Wealth.

‘Antonio Buzaneli was the primary architect of a $150 million Ponzi scheme that targeted hundreds of victims worldwide, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable,’ said United States attorney Erica MacDonald.

‘Some victims lost their retirement savings, others lost the ability to provide a college education to their children or grandchildren. For these egregious crimes, Mr Buzaneli will spend the next 20 years behind bars. I applaud our law enforcement partners for their steadfast efforts in seeking justice for the victims.

‘No matter how complex the scheme, the FBI is committed to stopping fraudsters like these from preying on people, especially elderly investors who may have lost their life savings in this case,’ added Jill Sanborn, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.

  • A Ponzi scheme is a fraud where investors believe they are making investments in a fund or portfolio but no actual business activity is taking place. New investors’ money is funnelled out to older investors and the perpetrators of the fraud as it flows in.

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