06 June, 2009

Fund manager admits to $80M Ponzi scheme

A solo fund manager pleaded guilty Friday to operating an $80 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 70 victims, including a family foundation and a couple who lost their life savings.

Joseph S. Forte, 53, of Broomall admits he lured investors by promising returns ranging from 18% to 38% — and pledged they would never lose money.

But losses are ultimately what happened as Forte paid himself millions, bought a Sea Isle, N.J., beach house and donated more than $1 million to charity, including $200,000 to Malvern Preparatory School on Philadelphia's tony Main Line.

"I think it was a pyramid of trust," said Steve Bell of Broomall, a school guidance counselor whose wife is heading back to work after they lost most of their savings.


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