NAPLES MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD IN INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, announced that Anthony Zito, 64, of Naples, pled guilty to charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud related to an investment fraud scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Zito is facing up to five years of prison time, along with a maximum of three years of supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced in front of U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams on March 30, 2012.
According to the Information, court records, and statements in court, Zito owned and operated a firm titled Gladius Investments (Gladius) (which was also known as Maximus Holdings and Gladius International, S.A.). Zito founded Gladius in 2004 and acted as the officer, director, and president of Gladius since that time. From at least 2006 through November 3, 2011, Gladius purported to invest in silver bullion on behalf of investors. Investors would give Gladius money to invest in silver on the commodities market. Since approximately January 2009, Zito used a trading account at Berkeley Futures Limited (Berkeley) in London, England in the name of Gladius to invest in silver bullion. Between approximately January 2009 and July 2009, Gladius deposited $650,000.00 into the Berkeley trading account to buy silver on behalf of the company's investors. On December 31, 2009, Gladius transmitted by electronic mail account statements to investors. The account statements contained the following information: (a) what the investor was investing in (silver); (b) the quantity of the silver that Gladius invested on behalf of the investor; (c) the current market price of the silver; (d) the value of the silver Gladius had invested in; and (e) the value of the Gladius account held by the investor. Collectively, Gladius advised the investors that Gladius had invested in 115,000 ounces of silver on the investors’ behalves. However, Gladius’ trading account statement from Berkeley for that same day showed that Gladius had no current or pending silver investments. On March 30, 2010, Gladius transmitted by electronic mail account statements to investors. Gladius told investors that it had invested in 20,000 ounces of silver on their behalves. However, Gladius’ trading account statement from Berkeley for that same day showed that Gladius had no current or pending silver investments. In addition to account statements, Gladius made available to its investors an internal database documenting the amount of silver held by Gladius, which provided a purported total value of the investors’ investment. For example, on June 8, 2010, Gladius’ internal database showed that the company had approximately 130 investors. According to the June 8, 2010 internal database, Gladius had invested in 1,271,500 ounces of silver on behalf of its investors, and the total value of that silver was $19,708,250. However, according to the June 2010 account statement for Gladius’ Berkeley trading account, Gladius had no more than 50,000 ounces of silver investments that month, and the total value of the trading account was approximately $672,000.00.
Mr. Ferrer commended the efforts of the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation for their efforts in the investigation and prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Luck.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.