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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 23, 2019

Carrollwood Man Sentenced For $8 Million Investment Fraud

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Larry A. Carr (84, Tampa) to four years in federal prison for the sale of unregistered securities.  The court also ordered Carr to pay more than $8 million in restitution to his victim-investors.

Carr had pleaded guilty on May 9, 2019.

According to court documents, Carr served as the president and/or sole operator of Cita Trust N.A., Inc., Cita Trust Company, N.A., Cita Trust Company, Ltd., and Cita Trust Company, A.G. (collectively, “Cita Trust”). One or more of the Cita Trust entities operated in Florida while others purported to be trusts or firms in Switzerland. 

In 2015, Carr sold unregistered securities in the form of Cita Trust Investment Notes to a victim-investor. The victim-investor used the proceeds of her late husband’s life insurance policy to invest $400,000 with Cita Trust. Carr told the victim-investor that $100,000 was deposited into a money market account earning 1.77% interest, and that the remaining $300,000 was invested in a two-year Cita Trust Investment Note that earned 4.77% interest. Later in 2015, the victim-investor used proceeds from the sale of a building related to her late husband’s business to invest an additional $350,000. The victim-investor gave Carr a check, which he deposited into a bank account in the name of Cita Trust. Carr claimed that the entire $350,000 was invested in an 18-month Cita Trust Investment Note that earned 4.77% interest.

In fact, Carr did not invest the victim-investor’s funds. Rather, he used the funds to make purported interest payments to earlier victim-investors, to pay his employees’ salaries, and to pay for personal expenses, including the lease payment for his luxury car, country club expenses, credit card bills, and a tithe to his church.

The Cita Trust Investment Notes constituted securities, which were required to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Knowing that the notes were not registered with the SEC and not exempt from registration, Carr willfully sold them to the public, including to this victim-investor. His fraud scheme resulted in losses to multiple victim-investors in the total amount of at least $8.174 million.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated August 23, 2019