Jury Finds Sarasota Man Guilty Of Running $80 Million “Oasis” Forex Ponzi Scheme
Tampa, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that following a 13-day trial, a federal jury has found Michael J. DaCorta (57, Sarasota) guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, money laundering, and filing a false income tax return. DaCorta faces a combined maximum penalty of 33 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. DaCorta had been charged in a superseding indictment in February 2021.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, from November 2011 through April 18, 2019, DaCorta ran an investment company named Oasis International Group, Ltd. (“OASIS”). DaCorta and his co-conspirators persuaded at least 700 victims to invest in OASIS through promissory notes and other means, causing victims’ losses exceeding $80 million. DaCorta, who had effectively been banned from conducting foreign exchange trading (“FOREX”) by agreement with the National Futures Association, induced victims to invest in OASIS by falsely representing to victim-investors that OASIS was reaping enormous profits by being a “market maker” and collecting “spread” on voluminous FOREX trades. DaCorta also pitched the opportunity as essentially risk free and OASIS as well-collateralized. In reality, OASIS was not making markets and had no true revenue. The “spread” earnings were being paid on each trade by OASIS back to OASIS to create the illusion of revenue, which was published to investors on fictious account statements and an online investor portal. The online investor portal showed the “spread” credits but concealed catastrophic underlying trading losses.
DaCorta and his conspirators used the balance of the victim-investors’ funds to make Ponzi-style payments to perpetuate the scheme and to fund lavish lifestyles. For example, DaCorta used victim-investors’ funds to purchase a Maserati and Range Rovers for his family members, a country club membership, multiple million-dollar homes in Florida, college tuition for family members, flights on private jets, and lavish trips to Europe and the Cayman Islands. DaCorta also underreported his income on his 2017 federal income tax return, claiming a negative income and receiving a tax refund.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Futures Association, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Criminal Prosecution Assistance Group, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachelle DesVaux Bedke, Frank Murray, and David W.A. Chee.