Another Florida Attorney Convicted of Perpetrating Another Ponzi Scheme

Attorney Anthony Livoti, Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale was recently convicted by a Miami federal jury “of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and mail fraud” as “the result of Livoti’s participation in a scheme to defraud approximately 30,000 victims who invested in the viatical and life settlement company Mutual Benefits Corp. (MBC). “For nearly ten years, Anthony Livoti, Jr. used the prestige of his law license to further this massive, multi-million dollar fraud scheme. It is outrageous that an attorney would prey on investors by promising them their money was safe and secure when in reality he was misappropriating their funds,” according to U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “This is another case of an attorney who instead of doing the right thing was motivated by his personal greed and assisted in defrauding thousands of investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars,” said FBI Special Agent William J. Maddalena.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from approximately 1994 to May 2004, MBC purchased life insurance policies from the elderly, as well as persons suffering from AIDS and chronically ill. Thereafter, MBC sold fractionalized interests in insurance policy death benefits, known as “viatical settlements,” to approximately 30,000 investor-victims. MBC told investors that its viatical settlements offered a fixed rate of return with low risk, and that investors’ principal and returns were paid by the insurance companies. Evidence presented at trial established that MBC misrepresented many important facts relating to its viatical settlements, including, for example, the estimated life expectancies of the insured persons, MBC’s fraudulent methods used to acquire life insurance policies, the risks associated with certain policies, the payment of premiums, and the source of funds used to pay investors.

Defendant Anthony Livoti, Jr., an attorney licensed by the State of Florida, was MBC’s premium trustee, and as a result was entrusted with millions of dollars of investor money placed in bank accounts under his control. Livoti was also the designated “trustee” of thousands of the insurance policies sold by MBC. Evidence showed that Livoti assisted MBC with the marketing of its fraudulent investment by meeting with investors in his Fort Lauderdale law office and encouraging them to purchase MBC investments.

Witnesses testified that new investor money was regularly used to pay premiums on life insurance policies purchased by earlier investors and to pay investors who requested their money back. In Ponzi-like fashion, Livoti and his co-conspirators were using new investor money to pay for earlier investor obligations. As the fraud continued, eventually investor money was required to prevent the MBC Ponzi from collapsing. Ultimately, investors lost more than $750 million.

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