A long-time fugitive who defrauded investors out of $65 million with his Doylestown company will be behind bars for 20 years.
Eric Bartoli was sentenced after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud, securities charges and income tax charges.
Prosecutors say his Cyprus Funds company was a large scale Ponzi scheme in the late 1990s, and that Bartoli fled in 1999 after being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The law caught up with him in Peru in 2013.
(U.S. Attorney's Office Northern Ohio, news release) Eric V. Bartoli, who a fugitive for more than a decade, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of investors out of millions of dollars in the 1990s, law enforcement officials said.
Bartoli pleaded guilty earlier this year to eight counts, including conspiracy, securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, wire fraud, mail fraud and attempted income tax evasion.
Bartoli operated a large-scale Ponzi scheme from 1995 through 1999. He created and operated a company by the name of Cyprus Funds, Inc., which was based in Doylestown, Ohio and incorporated in Central America. Bartoli and his co-conspirators operated Cyprus to sell certificates of deposit and unregistered mutual funds. Cyprus raised approximately $65 million from an estimated 800 investors in Latin America and the United States. Some of Cyprus's victims included retirees, according to court records.
Bartoli was sued in 1999 by the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges involving the Cyprus Funds, Inc.
Bartoli did not appear at a scheduled hearing regarding the SEC charges. He was subsequently found in contempt of court and a civil arrest warrant was issued. Bartoli had fled Ohio and was arrested in New Hampshire. Bartoli was not detained at that time and became a fugitive.
An indictment was filed against Bartoli in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in October 2003.
Bartoli was taken into custody by the Peruvian National Police in Lima, Peru, in 2013. The operation was a joint effort between the FBI, Diplomatic Security Service, and the Peruvian National Police. He was returned to the United States last year.
"Mr. Bartoli spent years stealing millions of dollars from hard-working people, then more than a decade on the run," said U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon. "Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly, but today Mr. Bartoli was finally held accountable for his crimes. The fact that he will spend the foreseeable future in prison is a testament to the efforts of everyone who worked on this case."
"After years of living on the run, Mr. Bartoli will now serve time behind bars for swindling individuals out of large sums of money, including entire life savings," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. "The FBI will continue to investigate fraudsters, like Eric Bartoli, and will hold them accountable for their criminal behavior, no matter how long it takes and no matter where they try to hide."
"More than a decade has passed since Mr. Bartoli's criminal actions were brought to light in an indictment. Well, today marks the end of a long successful investigation that uncovered a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme laced with a web of financial lies that left 800 investors in financial peril," said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. "The IRS, FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office never stopped pursuing Mr. Bartoli, proving that you can run, but you cannot hide from the federal government."
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Christos M. Georgalis following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.