Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced Dante S. Giovannetti (50, Orlando) to five years and three months in federal prison for wire fraud. He was also ordered to pay $663,975.61 in restitution. Giovannetti pleaded guilty on April 14, 2015.
According to court documents, Giovannetti solicited four individuals to provide him with approximately $700,000 that Giovannetti claimed would be pooled, placed into a trading account, and used to trade in E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts. To induce his investors, Giovannetti represented that he had experience in earning profits from trading S&P futures, and provided investors with statements that showed large trading profits that Giovannetti claimed to have earned. Contrary to his representations, Giovannetti did not invest the monies in S&P futures, but instead used significant portions of the investors' funds for his personal benefit. To conceal his fraud, he provided his victims with false trading statements that had been doctored to show tens of millions of dollars in fictitious profits from trading S&P 500 futures contracts and more than $53 million in cash on deposit as of July 31, 2014.
After Giovannetti failed to return their money, his investors complained to the National Futures Association, which commenced an emergency examination of one of Giovannetti’s companies on October 14, 2014. On October 30, 2014, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil action against Giovannetti and several of his entities in federal court, in Orlando. A statutory restraining order was entered against Giovannetti and his entities freezing their assets, granting expedited discovery, and prohibiting the destruction of documents. Giovannetti failed to comply with the orders of the Court, was held in contempt, and a warrant was issued for his arrest in the CFTC civil case in November 2014. On November 21, 2014, Giovannetti was charged in a sealed criminal complaint in the Middle District of Florida (MDFL).
After his scheme was uncovered, Giovannetti fled to Canada. On January 15, 2015, he was deported back to the United States. The following day, Giovannetti made his initial appearance on the criminal complaint in federal court, in Seattle, Washington. He was detained and returned to the MDFL by the United States Marshals Service.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.