Ponzi Scheme Fraudster Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Embezzling Over $4 Million
DETROIT - A 55-year-old former resident of Macomb County was sentenced yesterday to over 11 years in federal prison for defrauding seventeen people of over $4 million in an investment fraud scheme, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.
Joining in the announcement was James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.
U.S. District Judge Laurie J. Michelson sentenced Gino Accettola to 135 months in prison following his April 2022 guilty plea to wire fraud charges and ordered that Accettola pay restitution to his seventeen victims in the amount of $4,199,846.35.
According to court records, from 2014 to 2016, Accettola solicited investments from associates and friends of friends. Accettola offered investors abnormally high short-term returns. Accettola told investors that the money they invested with him was in support of various commercial construction projects in Michigan and Florida. Many of the commercial construction projects that Accettola described to investors did not exist. Specifically, Accettola solicited investments in support of purported work for a Michigan based manufacturing facility and claimed to be friends with the managing partner of the company. In reality, Accettola had no connection to company nor was he friends with the managing partner. In order to perpetuate his fraud, Accettola provided investors with fraudulent emails, contracts, payout schedules and other information purportedly from the company, the managing partner or other company employees. Between 2014 and November 2016, Accettola defrauded investors of approximately $4,199,846.35. Accettola had a long history of cheating and deceiving people, having previously been convicted of sixteen fraud crimes between 1991 and 2019.
“This defendant lied to his victims in order to carry out his fraud. He told his victims that he was investing their money for legitimate construction projects when in reality he used their money on himself at casinos, restaurants, and on entertainment,” stated U.S. Attorney Ison. “Today’s sentencing should send a clear message that we will hold accountable all those who take advantage of others for personal gain.”
Special Agent Tarasca stated, “Criminals like this use every means of deceit available to further their selfish goals, and investors need to exercise great caution so as not to become victimized.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara Woodward.