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Mother-and-son duo plead guilty to Ponzi scheme

Calgary, Alberta (December 16, 2014) – On Wednesday, Dec. 10, 45-year-old Lethbridge resident, Anthony Pittarelli, and his 66-year-old mother, Marisa Pittarelli (also known as Giovanna Campanelli-Pittarelli), both pled guilty to seven counts of fraud.

The charges are related to an investment fraud scheme where people were invited to invest in an entertainment event ticket reselling business. Tickets to popular events, such as concerts or sporting events, were claimed to be bought and resold at a profit to investors. In reality, there was no ticket reselling business. Instead, the money of the people who were deliberately deceived by the Pittarelli’s was used to repay earlier investors who had also been lied to. Some of the money taken from these people was used for the personal gain of Anthony Pittarelli and Marisa Pittarelli. This type of criminal defrauding is commonly known as a Ponzi scheme.

The guilty pleas are in relation to seven victims who collectively lost over $1.3 million. Sentencing for Anthony Pittarelli and Marisa Pittarelli is scheduled for April 20, 2015 in Lethbridge.

"Too many people fall victim to these schemes every year,” says Inspector Gord Sereda, Officer in Charge of RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET) and Financial Integrity. “This investigation is one of several investment fraud investigations brought to court by IMET and Financial Integrity in recent years. Recent investment fraud and Ponzi scheme cases we've investigated that have gone to court have affected hundreds of investors who lost many millions of dollars. We hope that through awareness, prevention, investigation and disruption, IMET and Financial Integrity can help reduce the number of people whose financial futures are put in serious jeopardy by falling victim to these schemes."

Throughout this investigation and prosecution, the RCMP worked in close collaboration with partner agencies, and would like to thank the following for their contribution:

  • Alberta Justice, Specialized Prosecutions Branch
  • Alberta Securities Commission
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)
  • Lethbridge Regional Police Service
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Public Works Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG)

The IMET mandate is to prevent, investigate and support the prosecution of serious Criminal Code capital market fraud offences that are of regional or national significance and that threaten investor confidence or the economic stability of Canada. Maintaining investor confidence in Canada’s publicly traded companies, capital markets and other investments is crucial in today’s economic environment. This mandate now falls under the RCMP “K” Division Financial Integrity Team in Calgary.

The RCMP’s capital market investigative resources can include: highly specialized RCMP investigators, Public Prosecution Service of Canada legal advisors, securities regulators, representatives of other federal enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies of local jurisdiction, forensic accountants, and various support staff.

Further information about the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Teams can be found here.

Further information about Investment and Security frauds can be found here.

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Media Contact:
S/Sgt. Les Dolhun
RCMP Financial Integrity Team 4
403-699-2504

Sgt. Doug Johnston
RCMP Financial Integrity Team 4
403-699-2534