Joseph Paul Zada Indicted for Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) recently announced that on September 4, 2013, a Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida returned an Indictment charging Joseph Paul Zada with 21 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of properties obtained as a result of the alleged criminal violations.

The Indictment alleges that from at least January 1998 through August 2009, Zada caused over twenty investors to invest over $20 million based on materially false statements and omissions. According to the Indictment, Zada attracted investors by projecting an image of great wealth, portraying himself as a successful businessman and investor with connections to Saudi Arabian oil ventures. He also hosted extravagant parties, drove expensive luxury vehicles, and maintained expensive homes in Wellington, Florida and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The investors sent money to Zada with the understanding that he would use the funds to invest in various oil ventures on their behalf. The investors usually received promissory notes reflecting the principal amount of their investment. Zada deposited investors’ funds into bank accounts he controlled. Instead of investing the funds in oil ventures, Zada used the money to support his lavish lifestyle and to make purported returns on investments to prior investors.

The Indictment’s allegations are based on the same conduct underlying the Commission’s November 10, 2010 Complaint against Zada in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Commission charged Zada with violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. On July 31, 2013, the Court granted the Commission’s motion for summary judgment against Zada, finding that Zada had violated the provisions alleged by the Commission in its Complaint. The Court set a hearing for October 9, 2013 on the Commission’s for disgorgement and civil penalties against Zada. [U.S. v. Joseph Paul Zada, Case No. 13-80173-CV (S. Dist. Fla.)]

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