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Sarasota man convicted in $80 million Ponzi scheme

Ponzi Scheme

Sarasota man convicted in $80 million Ponzi scheme

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TAMPA, Fla. (WWSB) – A Sarasota man faces 30 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $80 million.

Michael J. DaCorta, 57, was found guilty Thursday in federal court in Tampa of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, money laundering, and filing a false income tax return.

Prosecutors say DaCorta ran an investment company called Oasis International Group. From 2011 until 2019, DaCorta and his co-conspirators persuaded at least 700 victims to invest through promissory notes and other means by falsely saying Oasis was reaping enormous profits on foreign exchange trades.

In reality, the company had no true revenue and used fake account statements and an online investor portal. The online investor portal showed credits but concealed catastrophic underlying trading losses.

DaCorta used investors’ money to make Ponzi-style payments to perpetuate the scheme and to fund lavish lifestyles, including buying a Maserati and Range Rovers for his family members, a country club membership, multiple million-dollar homes in Florida, college tuition for family members, flights on private jets, and lavish trips to Europe and the Cayman Islands.

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

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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