Orlando Man Charged with Investment Fraud
ORLANDO, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Dante S. Giovannetti (50, Orlando) with five counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count.
According to court documents, Giovannetti solicited four individuals to provide him with approximately $700,000 that Giovannetti claimed would be pooled, placed into a trading account, and used to trade in E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts. To induce his investors, Giovanneti represented that he had experience in earning profits from trading S&P futures, and provided investors with statements that showed large trading profits that Giovannetti claimed to have earned. Contrary to his representations, Giovannetti did not invest the monies in S&P futures, but instead used significant portions of the investors’ funds for his personal benefit. To conceal his fraud, he provided his victims with false trading statements that had been doctored to show tens of millions of dollars in fictitious profits from trading S&P 500 futures contracts and more than $53 million in cash on deposit as of July 31, 2014.
After Giovannetti failed to return their money, his investors complained to the National Futures Association, which commenced an emergency examination of one of Giovannetti’s companies on October 14, 2014. On October 30, 2014, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil action against Giovannetti and several of his entities in federal court in Orlando. A statutory restraining order was entered against Giovannetti and his entities that froze their assets, granted expedited discovery, and prohibited the destruction of documents. Giovannetti failed to comply with the orders of the Court, was held in contempt, and a warrant was issued for his arrest for his contempt in the CFTC civil case in November 2014. On November 21, 2014, Giovannetti was charged in a sealed criminal complaint in the Middle District of Florida.
After his scheme was uncovered, Giovannetti fled to Canada. On January 15, 2015, he was deported back to the United States. The following day, Giovannetti had his initial appearance on the criminal complaint in federal court in Seattle, Washington. He is currently detained and in the process of being transported to this District by the United States Marshals Service.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.