A Rochester man admitted guilt for his role in a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $100 million, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
John Piccarreto Jr., 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return. According to the federal filing, the men used the money to fund a “jet-setting lifestyle.”
Between 2017 and June 2018, prosecutors said, Piccarreto and co-defendants Perry Santillo, Christopher Parris, and others tricked unwitting investors across the country.
They persuaded them to withdraw their savings from traditional investments and turn over their money with promises the funds would be used to operate businesses such as financial services, insurance, real estate development and medical laboratories, according to civil court documents filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Court documents allege those businesses either did not exist or barely existed, and that instead of actually investing the money, the men transferred the funds through multiple accounts they controlled, commingled the funds and then transferred the money elsewhere.
“These issuers had little to no substantial bona fide business activities, and other than monies obtained from defrauded investors, the issuers had no material revenue streams,” prosecutors said in a release.
The fraudsters allegedly used a business called Lucian Development and sold “fraudulent promissory notes that were issued under the names of…