Broward Man Accused of Running a Ponzi Scheme
A Ft. Lauderdale man, George Elia, who is currently under investigation by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, is also facing a $4 million lawsuit alleging that he has been running a Ponzi scheme. In October 2011, Michael Imbesi of San Diego, along with his father, step-mother and sister, filed the Broward Circuit Court lawsuit against Elia and his company, International Consultants & Investment Group Limited Corp., after repeated requests to withdraw their money were met with delay tactics and excuses.
According to the Complaint, Elia promoted himself as an investment adviser able to generate annual profits of 20 percent on average. Court documents show that Michael Imbesi began investing with Elia in 2005 and for years, he received statements showing returns of 4 to 7 percent per quarter. Pleased with his returns, Imbesi recommended Elia to relatives, including his father and step-mother.
According to the Complaint, in the spring of 2011, Elia became inconsistent in distributing money, blaming the delays on medical issues and a hacked e-mail account. The Imbesis became nervous and asked for their principal back, but Elia only responded with excuses.
Court documents reflect that an audit of Elia’s business records found significant irregularities, including the use of business funds to pay Elia’s personal expenses. According to court records, the bank accounts for Elia’s businesses were frozen pending the outcome of the litigation. At his deposition in November 2011, Elia answered standard questions about his background, but refused to answer additional questions, and invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
According to a real estate broker who assisted Elia in securing a 3rd mortgage on his Ft. Lauderdale home in January 2012, within two weeks of securing the $125,000 mortgage, she discovered that Elia and his wife had moved out of the home during the night.
Investors nationwide who have been the victims of a Ponzi scheme, may contact the Florida securities arbitration lawyers at Rabin Kammerer Johnson for a free and confidential consultation by calling toll free at 877.915.4040.