Jury Indicts Cyprus Fund Founder

October 17, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Allegedly stealing $34 million from mutual fund investors has landed the founder of the Cyprus Fund in legal hot water.

Financial adviser Eric Bartoli has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Cleveland on 10 separate counts that include hiding more than $12 million in income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), conspiracy, selling unregistered securities, money laundering and securities fraud.   However, notifying Bartoli is posing a bit of a problem since his whereabouts are a complete mystery, according to an Associated Press report.

Overall, officials estimate Bartoli ripped off more than 500 investors in Northeast Ohio and Latin American by running an investment scam promising high yields and low risk on blue-chip stocks.   However, when the rubber hit the road the Cyprus Fund was little more than a ponzi scheme that fraudulently raised $65 million from 1995 to 1999 in w hich initial investors were paid off with money collected from later clients . To date, clients have gotten back $31 million of their original investments.  

Also caught up in the fray were the directors of the fund that were convicted of tax fraud and selling unregistered securities for their roles in the scheme. Peter Esposito was sentenced to 24 months in prison and Douglas Shisler was sentenced to 21 months.