Former Wellington Resident Charged in Investment Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 05, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced the return of a 27-count indictment charging Joseph Paul Zada, 55, of Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, with mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, and money laundering in connection with an investment fraud scheme.
According to the indictment, in order to attract investors to his fraudulent scheme, Zada projected an image of great wealth, portraying himself as a successful businessman and investor with connections to Saudi Arabian oil ventures. In this regard, Zada hosted extravagant parties, drove expensive luxury vehicles, and maintained expensive homes in Wellington, Florida, and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The indictment alleges that Zada told investors that he would invest their money in oil-related ventures. Instead of being used to invest in oil ventures, the investor money were used to support Zada’s lavish lifestyle and to make purported returns on investments to prior investors. According to the indictment, Zada caused over 20 investors to invest over $20 million in his fraudulent scheme.
If convicted, Zada faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and wire fraud and a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison for each count of interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia.
An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.