A Louisiana businessman charged with defrauding investors out of nearly $20 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme has been ordered detained in federal custody.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said 26-year-old Matthew Pizzolato, of Tickfaw, made his initial court appearance Monday but didn't enter a plea. He is being held without bond pending his arraignment next Monday.
Pizzolato was arrested Friday after a grand jury indicted him on charges that include securities fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors said he defrauded about 160 investors _ mostly elderly people _ out of roughly $19.5 million and used some of the money to pay for cars, cruises, sports tickets and a house.