Fort Lauderdale Broker Pleads Guilty for Involvement in $16 Million Precious Metals and Securities
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office and Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) announced that on August 31, 2018, Salvatore Colonna, 69, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the plea documents, from January 2010, through October 2013, Colonna worked as a broker for Liberty International Financial Services and related entities (together, “Liberty”) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During that period, Colonna agreed on a scheme with other co-conspirators to obtain money from investors by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, including (a) that investors’ money would be used to buy precious metals; (b) that investors would receive substantial dividends on Liberty investments; and (c) that the defendant would only take a five to fifteen percent commission on investments. In truth and in fact, as Colonna knew, Liberty was not using investor money to buy precious metals, Liberty investments would not pay substantial dividends, and the defendant knowingly took commissions on investors’ monies as high as forty percent.
According to the plea documents, from January 2010, through October 2013, investors sent over $16 million in funds to Liberty. Liberty returned only around $3 million to investors. A substantial percentage of the money was used to pay the founders of Liberty and the defendant, who received over $2 million in commissions.
Colonna is scheduled to be sentenced on November 16, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Beth F. Bloom.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.