LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United…

LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Andrew A. Apollony, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Don Saxon, Commissioner, Office of Financial Regulation of the State of Florida, announced today that defendant, Anthony Giordano, 29, of Boca Raton, pled guilty to federal securities and wire fraud charges in connection with a hedge fund fraud and stock manipulation scheme. Co-defendant Joseph Zumwalt, 46, of Fort Lauderdale, also pled guilty today to mail fraud in connection with the hedge fund scam.

At the change of plea hearing, the defendants admitted to representing to investors, including two religious organizations, that they would invest their monies in a hedge fund administered by EPG Limited Partners, LTD. Instead of investing the monies in securities, defendant Giordano converted millions of dollars for other uses, including personal gain. In a second fraudulent scheme, defendant Giordano admitted to manipulating the common stock of Weida Communication, Inc., a publicly-traded company. Giordano acknowledged manipulating the market price for Weida common stock to about $5 per share, in part to facilitate the sale of Weida stock in private transactions at about $3 per share. Investors lost over $1.4 million as a result of the fraud.

As part of the plea agreement, defendant Giordano has transferred over $2 million to the Court for the purpose of making restitution. Giordano has agreed to pay $3,250,000 at the time of sentencing for the purpose of restitution.

The defendants pled guilty before the Chief United States District Court Judge William J. Zloch. Sentencing is scheduled for March 20, 2006. In connection with the securities fraud charge, defendant Giordano faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, and a fine of up to $5,000.000. On the mail fraud charge, both Giordano and Zumwalt face a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State of Florida, Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rolando Garcia.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

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