Richmond man sentenced to prison for $7M investment fraud scheme

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond man will spend more than 10 years behind bars for his involvement in a $7 million investment fraud scheme that he operated for nearly a decade.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Leonard J. Cipolla, 71, was the founder, owner, and operator of Tate Street Trading, Inc., in Richmond. Between 2009 and 2019, Cipolla solicited more than $7 million in investment funds from more than 40 individuals located in Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C., according to court documents.

The release states that Cipolla convinced investors to provide him with their savings by assuring them that he was a highly experienced, highly successful trader in commodity futures and options.

The DOJ says as time passed, “Cipolla pooled his investors’ savings as soon as those individuals’ personal checks, IRA roll-overs, and wires were deposited into his bank accounts,” using “only a fraction of those pooled investment funds to trade in the futures market, and he ultimately lost nearly the entire amount of investor funds that he actually invested.”

“Cipolla further dissipated the remainder of his investors’ savings on unauthorized expenses, to include making payments to earlier investors and paying his own personal expenses.”

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed a civil complaint alleging that Cipolla violated the Commodity Exchange Act (Case No. 3:19-cr-690).  

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