FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In the third day of his federal trial Ft. Lauderdale investment banker George Elia pleaded guilty to his part in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors said Elia, 69, preyed on Wilton Manors’ gay community. From October 2004 until 2011, Elia and his alleged partners raked in $9.5 million, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Elia created phony paperwork for investors who thought he was a financial pro.  With that he allegedly duped them into believing they would get high returns on investments if they went through his company International Consultants & Investment Group Ltd. Corp.

Investigators found Elia diverted $2.5 million in investor money to businesses either he or his wife owned. Another $3 million went to James Ellis who prosecutors say recruited clients for Elia.

Ellis, who pleaded guilty last month to a single count of wire fraud, was scheduled to testify for the prosecution.

Elia faced ten counts including fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The Sun-Sentinel contributed to this report


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