A Colts Neck, N.J., investment advisor pleaded guilty to defrauding dozens of investors out of millions of dollars in a $20 million Ponzi scheme that netted him money for luxury apartments and cars, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey announced Friday.
Louis J. Spina, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J. The scheme was operated out of Spina’s Fair Haven, N.J., office and his second residence in Miami.
Spina admitted he solicited victims to invest through his business, LJS Trading LLC. After receiving the funds, Spina provided each investor with a note guaranteeing a monthly rate of return, typically ranging from 9 percent to 14 percent. Between 2010 and 2013, Spina collected $20 million from 36 investors and deposited the funds into the LJS bank account, the U.S. Attorney says.
Over the course of the scheme, Spina only transferred $9.5 million of the investor funds into a trading account and he lost all of that investment. He used the remaining $10.5 million to pay the investors’ monthly interest payments, to return portions of some investors’ principals, and to pay for his own personal expenses, including car purchases, luxury apartment rentals, and a $400,000 donation to a private university, the court documents say.
Spina admitted he lied to investors about their funds, telling them they were making large gains when their money was lost.
Spina is scheduled for sentencing in February at which time he will also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims, the U.S. Attorney says.