La. man charged in Ponzi scheme held without bond

AP News
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Posted: Nov 24, 2009 11:00 AM

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.