Jury Convicts Florida Man in $80 Million Ponzi Scheme

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has been convicted of running an $80 million Ponzi scheme.

A federal jury in Tampa found Michael DaCorta guilty on Wednesday of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return, court records show. The 57-year-old Sarasota resident faces up to 33 years in prison.

A sentencing date was not immediately set.

DaCorta ran an investment company named Oasis International Group Ltd. from November 2011 to April 2019. According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, DaCorta and others persuaded at least 700 victims to invest in the business through promissory notes and other means, forcing the victims to lose more than $80 million.

DaCorta enticed the victims to invest by falsely claiming that Oasis was reaping huge profits from foreign exchange trading, prosecutors said. The company actually had no real income, but used victims’ funds to make Ponzi-like payments to perpetuate the scheme.

DaCorta used victims’ money to buy expensive vehicles for his family, a country club membership, multi-million dollar homes in Florida, family tuition, private jet flights and travel lavish in Europe and the Cayman Islands, officials said.

DaCorta also underreported his income on his 2017 federal tax return, reporting negative income and receiving a tax refund.