News and Press Releases

Naples Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud in Investment Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2012

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, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, and Linda B. Charity, Interim Commissioner, State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced that Anthony Zito, 64, of Naples, Florida, was sentenced today in Miami by U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams to five years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In addition, Judge Williams ordered Zito to pay $7.5 million in restitution to the victims of his crime. The Judge also ordered the forfeiture of half the value of Zito’s house, as well as his cars and bank accounts.

According to court records and statements made in court, Zito owned and operated a firm named Gladius Investments (Gladius) (which was also known as Maximus Holdings and Gladius International, S.A.). Zito founded Gladius in 2004, and acted as the company’s officer, director, and president. From at least 2006 through November 3, 2011, Gladius purported to invest in silver on the commodities market on behalf of investors who entrusted Gladius with their money.

In about January 2009, Zito established a trading account for Gladius with a company in London, England (Berkeley Futures Limited). Between about January 2009 and July 2009, Gladius deposited $650,000.00 into that trading account to buy silver on behalf of the company's investors. On December 31, 2009, Gladius sent account statements to investors by electronic mail. The statements set out the quantity, market price, and value of the silver that Gladius had invested in, on behalf of the investors. Each statement also set out the value of that particular investor’s account with Gladius. Collectively, Gladius represented in the statements that it had invested money in 115,000 ounces of silver on behalf of the investors. In fact, Gladius’ actual trading account statement from Berkeley for that day showed that Gladius had no current or pending silver investments. Three months later, on March 30, 2010, Gladius sent similar account statements to investors by electronic mail. In the statements, Gladius represented that it had invested money in 20,000 ounces of silver on behalf of the investors. In fact, Gladius’ actual trading account statement from Berkeley for that day showed that Gladius had no current or pending silver investments.

In addition to sending statements to investors, Gladius gave investors access to one of its internal databases. In the database, Gladius again misrepresented the amount of silver that it had purchased, as well as the total value of the investors’ investment. For example, on June 8, 2010, Gladius’ internal database showed that the company had approximately 130 investors, that Gladius had invested in 1,271,500 ounces of silver on behalf of its investors, and that the total value of that silver was $19,708,250. In fact, Gladius’ actual trading account statement from Berkeley for that period showed that Gladius had no more than 50,000 ounces of silver investments that month and that the total value of the trading account was about $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.

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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.

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