Robert Ponte, 59, of Stonington pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, 14 counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax evasion, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced Monday.
According to a press release from Fein, Ponte was on trial with Robert Rivernider, 47, of Wellington, Fla., and, Loretta Seneca, 50, of Boynton Beach, Fla. Rivernider and Seneca also pleaded guilty to separate charges.
“As the overwhelming evidence in this trial revealed, Rivernider and Ponte recruited individuals to invest their money by making false promises of guaranteed, high returns,” U.S. Attorney David Fein said. “Their investment program was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, which left several investors in financial ruin. With the assistance of Ms. Seneca, these defendants also engaged in a real estate investment scheme that defrauded more individuals, as well as lending institutions. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with the FBI, IRS-CI and our other law enforcement partners to root out financial schemes to protect the investing public."
According to the Fein, Ponte was part of two different schemes where investors lost approximately $23 million.
Ponte faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years for conspiring on the first investment fraud scheme, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years for conspiring on the second real estate investment scheme. The wire fraud charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 or 30 years and the tax evasion counts carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count.