Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, January 18, 2012
A South Florida radio and TV host who shared with listeners how to make it big during South Florida’s real estate boom was sentenced to four years in prison for taking part in a Ponzi scheme that bilked money from his real estate clients.
Anthony F. Cutaia, 65, hosted “Talk About Mortgages and Real Estate” on South Florida’s local PAX TV network and radio station WSBR (740-AM) and held seminars offering up financial advice on real estate.
Cutaia was accused by federal prosecutors of extorting about $1.56 million from his Boca Raton, Fla.-based commercial real estate business, CMG Property Investment Group, to pay for his housing expenses, cruises, cars, casino trips, and more. Prosecutors accused him of running a Ponzi scheme since forming his company in 2002.
Prosecutors say the victims of his scam included a retired U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent, who lost almost all of his $180,000 investment that he thought was being used to buy commercial real estate.
Prosecutors say another one of Cutaia’s victims included the Palm Beach Gardens police chief, who invested $150,000 of his retirement money and lost almost all of it after investing in Cutaia’s company.
Cutaia told the judge prior to sentencing that he believed he’d be able to pay back investors, and he blamed the real estate market collapse on his inability to do so.
Source: “Former Host Gets Four Years in Ponzi Scheme,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Jan. 18, 2012)