Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that RAFAEL MUZZI, 27, a citizen of Brazil formerly residing in Naugatuck, has been charged in a 14-count indictment with fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from an alleged investment fraud scheme.
As alleged in the indictment, in 2017 and 2018, Muzzi, at times using two entities he formed, Solace Investments LLC and Asseno LLC, induced victim-investors to provide him funds based on the representation he would use the funds for trading currencies in foreign exchange markets using a trading software program that he told his victims he had developed. Muzzi represented to victims that his software program had a feature that would cause trading to cease in the event of a certain loss in value, thus minimizing downside risk. Muzzi failed to invest a substantial portion of invested funds as he represented, and instead diverted those funds for his own personal use, and to pay other individuals who had invested with him.
It is alleged that, through this scheme, Muzzi defrauded at least 12 victim-investors out of a total of more than $550,000.
The indictment further alleges that Muzzi sent victims fabricated monthly account statements that falsely overstated their return on investment and their account balances. These misrepresentations induced some victim-investors to provide him with additional investment funds. Muzzi also provided victims with purported tax documents reflecting fictitious investment profits, causing victims to report and pay taxes on profits that they had not realized.
As alleged in court documents, in response to victim complaints, the State of Connecticut’s Department of Banking investigated Muzzi’s conduct, issued orders finding that Muzzi and Solace Investments had violated state securities laws, ordered them to make restitution to victims, and fined Muzzi $300,000. On September 6, 2020, Muzzi traveled to Brazil and did not return.
On August 23, 2022, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging Muzzi with 12 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
Muzzi was arrested on April 1, 2023, in Panama, and subsequently waived his right to contest his extradition to the U.S. He appeared in Hartford federal court on April 28, pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment, and was ordered detained. A detention hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Connecticut Department of Banking, Securities Division.
U.S. Attorney Avery thanked Interpol and Panamanian authorities for their assistance in apprehending this defendant, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for coordinating the extradition proceedings in this matter.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Conor M. Reardon and Michael S. McGarry.