TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that …

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that
a Polish citizen was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in an
investment fraud scam that victimized approximately 40 people. Zygmunt
Zabolotny, who also has U.S. citizenship, must also make full
restitution to his victims, an amount believed to be in excess of $1
million. He was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide
Prosecution.

“This complicated scheme spread its deception across the nation and
around the world,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Consumers should
always remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it
probably is.”

Through a tax company and word-of-mouth in the Polish community,
Zabolotny solicited customers to invest in what he claimed were highly
secured investments in Poland. Customers were told that they could
benefit greatly from a tax perspective and were guaranteed returns of 18
to 36 percent. Many investors received very little documentation about
their investment, which varied from $10,000 to more than $900,000.

Zabolotny claimed that his company, Vesta Financial Corporation,
would accept and manage the investments in Polish business ventures. The
ventures included coffee carts kiosks, fast food outlets, equipment
leasing to restaurants and medical businesses and the renovation of
older commercial real estate. Zabolotny provided little if any actual
proof of the details, locations or specifics of these properties or
investments.

Zabolotny provided occasional progress reports, but declined to
proved specifics on the investments. Many customers requested their
money back, but Zabolotny refused to make full refunds, returning part
of the investment only after great delay or if legal action was
threatened. In 2000, Zabolotny advised via letter that Polish
authorities had frozen his bank accounts. In 2002, Zabolotny advised via
letter that Vesta had lost approximately $700,000 due to withdrawing
investors.

After the company’s loss in 2002, the company shut down. Zabolotny
was arrested in October 2004 and extradited from Germany after an
investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the
Florida Department of Financial Services. Authorities believe that from
1996 through 2002, the total known investments involved in the scam
amounted to approximately $3.4 million. He was charged with one count of
securities Fraud, a first-degree felony, 16 counts of the sale of
unregistered securities and 16 counts of the sale of securities by an
unregistered dealer, both third-degree felonies. The sentence was handed
down by Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone.

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