LOS ANGELES (CN) – A stock marker scammer who raised $7.8 million from gullible investors by promising a return of 4 percent per month on investment, with no risk, has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, says the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.
Charles Trigilio, 45, of Arcadia, has been in jail since January.
Trigilio talked dozens of victims into letting him open investment accounts under their names, in the scam he ran since 2003, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
According to prosecutors:
Trigilio guaranteed a return of 4 percent per month, with no risk, regardless of the state of the stock market.
He made investors sign agreements allowing him control of their accounts, and made them promise not to check their own account balances. Then he transferred their money into his personal accounts, and to accounts controlled by his wife.
He stashed $7.8 million at one of the four investment banks he used to deposit the stolen money. Only $80,000 was left by August 2007.
Trigilio lost millions more in bad trades, in addition to the millions he stole for himself.
The contempt charge stems from an October 2007 court order stemming from an SEC lawsuit against him. “Trigilio ignored this order, continuing to solicit investors up to the day he was arrested,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said. “Trigilio’s last victim invested $40,000 with Trigilio two days prior to his arrest.”
Among Trigilio’s victims was a man who “invested” with him to try to make enough money to pay for his wife’s cancer treatments, prosecutors said.
Trigilio faces up to 20 years in prison on each of two charges of wire fraud.