Providence fraudster jailed for 20 years for role in ponzi scheme

Pedro Gonçalves
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Providence fraudster jailed for 20 years for role in ponzi scheme

A 57-year-old man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a $150m ponzi scheme that deceived Minnesotans and also received funds from Guernsey residents.

The US Attorney's Office said that Antonio Carlos De Godoy Buzaneli was sentenced in connection to the $150m investment fraud scheme. He pleaded guilty last April. One of his co-conspirators, Jose Manuel Ordoñez Jr., was to 10 years in prison in January and Julio Enrique Rivera will be sentenced later in April, the attorney's office said.

Buzaneli and the other two were the principals of Providence Holdings International Inc., a company based in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Antonio Buzaneli was the primary architect of a $150m Ponzi scheme that targeted hundreds of victims worldwide, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable"

Last year, former financial adviser Christopher Byrne was sentenced to seven years in prison in Jersey for fraudulently selling investment opportunities connected with Providence, which was a major shareholder in Lumiere Wealth.

"Antonio Buzaneli was the primary architect of a $150m Ponzi scheme that targeted hundreds of victims worldwide, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable. Some victims lost their retirement savings, others lost the ability to provide a college education to their children or grandchildren. For these egregious crimes, Mr. Buzaneli will spend the next 20 years behind bars. I applaud our law enforcement partners for their steadfast efforts in seeking justice for the victims," said United States attorney Erica MacDonald.

"Our securities enforcement unit and the Commerce Fraud Bureau began investigating this scheme after receiving a tip about a suspicious investment opportunity being offered in Minnesota," said Steve Kelley, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. "We are proud that the Commerce Fraud Bureau collaborated successfully with federal authorities, bringing to justice a far-reaching operation that deceived Minnesotans."

Buzaneli will also have three years of supervised release following his time in prison, and he was ordered to pay $51,353,861.45 in restitution.