A Tampa, Florida, area investment advisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison today for perpetrating a $9 million investment fraud scheme involving Facebook stock.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office and Inspector in Charge Ronald J. Verrochio of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Miami Division made the announcement.
Gignesh Movalia, 40, a registered investment advisor, was also ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the Middle District of Florida to pay $5,394,419 in restitution and to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Movalia pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2015, to one count of investment advisor fraud.
In connection with his guilty plea, Movalia admitted that he founded OM Global Investment Fund LLC in 2009 and subsequently used the fund to defraud investors. Specifically, in 2011 and 2012, Movalia raised more than $9 million from 130 investors by falsely claiming to have access to pre-initial public offering shares of Facebook Inc. Rather than using this money to buy Facebook shares as promised, however, Movalia invested the money in other securities and concealed that fact from investors. By September 2013 when it went into receivership, the OM Global Fund lost approximately $9 million, with $6 million of those losses as a result of the fraud scheme.
The case was investigated by the FBI and USPIS, with assistance provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Miami Regional Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew H. Warren of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.