SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The president of a Northern California financial firm has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in an investment scam that bilked more than 300 people out of roughly $40 million.
Federal prosecutors in Sacramento say Anthony Vassallo and his associates collected about $80 million, returning half to clients to lull them into thinking they were getting a good return on their investment.
The 33-year-old Folsom man pleaded guilty Friday. He could face 16 years in prison under a plea agreement when he is sentenced May 3.
His Equity Investment Management and Trading Inc. promised investors risk-free, 36 percent annual returns, but he put their money into high-risk investments and personal luxuries, including a $103,000 Lexus for his wife.
Investigators say he met many of his victims through the Mormon church.