La. suspect's lawyer asks out of Ponzi scheme case

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2009 11:26 AM

A lawyer for a Louisiana businessman charged with defrauding investors out of nearly $20 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme has asked to withdraw from the case.

Matthew Pizzolato's attorney, Dylan Utley, said in a court filing Monday that his client can't afford to pay him for his legal services. Utley said he can't afford to defend Pizzolato without compensation.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk didn't immediately rule on Utley's request.

The FBI arrested Pizzolato on Nov. 20 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 out of roughly $19.5 million and used some of the money to pay for cars, cruises, sports tickets and a house.