U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Florida
(305) 961-9001
September 3, 2015

Michigan Man Guilty of Mail Fraud in $50 Million Ponzi Scheme

A Michigan man was found guilty today of fifteen counts of mail fraud in a $50 million Ponzi scheme that spanned 10 years.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced today that after a six-week trial, Joseph P. Zada, 57, of Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, and formerly of Wellington, Florida, was found guilty today of 15 counts of mail fraud in a $50 million Ponzi scheme that spanned ten years.

The victims included an internationally acclaimed hockey player, a former Olympic equestrian champion, a veterinarian, a jeweler, and a pawnbroker, as well as a number of firefighters. Zada told the victims that he was investing their money in oil and currency trading through a top-secret board headquartered in London. In truth, he never invested their money, but instead squandered it on a lavish jet-set lifestyle, which included mansions in Florida and Michigan. The victims were defrauded out of more than $50 million. When pressed to return the investment money, Zada claimed he was awaiting a billion dollar inheritance from a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, but the inheritance never materialized.

Zada was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read. Zada faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the 15 counts. His sentencing is scheduled for November 20, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rolando Garcia and Adrienne Rabinowitz.

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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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