Salvatore Colonna, 69, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced on November 30, 2018, to 78 months in prison for his role in a $16 million precious metals and securities fraud scheme and ordered to pay approximately $13 million in restitution.
According to court documents, from January 2010 through October 2013, the defendant worked as a broker for Liberty International Financial Services and related entities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During that period, Colonna agreed to participate in a scheme with other co-conspirators to obtain money from investors by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, including (a) that investors' money would be used to buy precious metals; (b) that investors would receive substantial dividends on Liberty investments; and (c) that the defendant would only take a five to fifteen percent commission on investments.
In reality, and as known by the defendant, Liberty was not using investor money to buy precious metals, Liberty investments would not pay substantial dividends, and Colonna knowingly took commissions on investors' monies as high as forty percent.
According to the plea documents and statements at sentencing, from January 2010 through October 2013, investors sent over $16 million in funds to Liberty. Liberty returned only around $3 million to investors. A substantial percentage of the money was used to pay the founders of Liberty and Colonna received approximately $2.4 million in victims' funds.