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DOJ: Sarasota man bought cars, homes, lavish trips by running $80 million Ponzi scheme

DaCorta is accused of using the investment funds to "make Ponzi-style payments" to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Credit: US Department of Justice
Sarasota man Michael J. DaCorta is accused of living a lavish lifestyle using money obtained through an $80 million Ponzi scheme

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota man accused of buying homes, luxury cars and flights on private jets using money he made through a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme is set to spend the next 23 years behind bars.

Michael J. DaCorta, 57, has been sentenced to federal prison time after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, money laundering, and filing a false income tax return in 2020. The court also entered an order of forfeiture for $2,817,876.16.

Based on evidence from the trial, the Department of Justice says DaCorta ran an investment company named Oasis International Group, Ltd. from 2011 to 2019. During this time, DaCorta and his co-conspirators persuaded more than 700 people to invest in the company by falsely representing that Oasis was reaping enormous profits through foreign exchange trading, the DOJ adds.

According to a release from the state attorney's office, DaCorta did this by pitching the opportunity as essentially risk-free, when in reality, Oasis had no true revenue. Spread earnings were reportedly being paid on each trade by Oasis back to Oasis to create the illusion of revenue for potential investors.

The DOJ says DaCorta used these investment funds to "make Ponzi-style payments" to fund lavish purchases on multi-million-dollar homes, college tuitions, private jet flights, international trips, Range Rovers and a Maserati.

DaCorta also under-reported his income on his 2017 tax return, allowing him to receive a tax refund, according to the state attorney.

"Mr. DaCorta guaranteed his more than 700 clients an 'oasis' of an investment, when in reality all they got was a dust bowl of empty promises,” IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne said. “Today’s significant prison sentence ordered by the court should offer some measure of justice to all of those impacted by the destructive wake of Mr. DaCorta’s greed and indifference.”

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