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