Guilty Plea in Florida Real Estate Investment Ponzi Scheme

A Boynton Beach man who once hosted a television talk show discussing real estate investment pled guilty to a count of mail fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme he ran for several years in Palm Beach, Florida.  Anthony Cutaia, 65, had recently been indicted on nine counts of mail fraud, each of which carry a maximum prison sentence of twenty years.  In the plea agreement with Cutaia, prosecutors have agreed to recommend that any sentence imposed be at the lower end of the range provided by the probation office, provided Cutaia make full disclosure regarding his crimes and not withhold any facts.  

From 2002 to 2006, Cutaia was the host of a regular Sunday morning television program entitled "Talk About Mortgages and Real Estate."  Cutaia also hosted a radio talk program and hosted seminars throughout the Palm Beach area, in which he solicited investors for CMG Property Investment Group, which he incorporated in late 2002.  Cutaia, through CMG, sold investments in "Contract Participation Agreements" to investors which purported to be commercial real estate investments, specifically for the purchase and sale of various commercial real estate properties.  Per the terms of these "investments", investors would share in profits and receive regular interest payments during the life of the investment.  Instead, only a portion of investor funds were used for their intended purpose, and the majority of funds were used to pay personal expenses and to make payments to investors purporting to be interest payments from what Cutaia heralded as successful and profitable ventures.  According to the plea agreement, Cutaia ultimately collected and misappropriated over $1 million of investor funds.

A sentencing date for Mr. Cutaia has not yet been set.  Mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of twenty years, although the setnencing recommendation from the U.S. Probation Office is likely to be much less.  Under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act and Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982, the Court may also order restitution to victims of Cutaia's fraud, along with a fine of up to $250,000.