DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A Brighton-area investment manager and his son have been found guilty in a $50 million scheme to defraud hundreds of investors.
After an eight week trial, a federal jury on Wednesday convicted 45-year-old John Bravata of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and 15 counts of wire fraud. His 25-year-old son Antonio Bravata was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum possible penalty fo 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for June 18.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said from 2006 to 2009, the Bravatas defrauded more than 500 investors of more than $50 million dollars, money that largely represented the life savings of investors.
In executing their scheme, McQuade said the Bravatas solicited money for their company BBC Equities by using false and fraudulent statements and promises. These false statements included promises of guaranteed safety of principal and high interest returns.
Rather than investing the money in safe real estate transactions as promised, McQuade said a large portion of the money was used by the Bravatas to support their lavish lifestyles.
Both John Bravata and Antonio Bravata furthered their scheme to defraud through free lunch seminars that targeted retirees, McQuade said.
At these presentations, the Bravatas allegedly made false promises of a safe investment, they falsely claimed that they did not get paid unless the company was profitable, that no fees or commissions would be charged or taken on investments, and that real estate was purchased with cash.
“White collar criminals may use sophisticated methods, but their crime is nothing more than stealing other people’s money,” McQuade said in a statement. “These defendants targeted and preyed upon victims and stole their life savings. Many of these victims are seniors who lack the resources or the time to recoup the loss.”
As part of the same prosecution, a guilty plea to wire fraud was entered by 32-year-old Richard Trabulsy, of Canton, a former business partner of John Bravata.
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