A prominent and distinguished gay Fort Lauderdale lawyer was convicted last Wednesday of playing a material role in a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say scammed investors out of more than $1 billion.
Anthony M. Livoti Jr., 64, endured an 11 week trial and nearly 8 days of jury deliberations, but in the end, was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy on 3 major felony counts, which could send him to jail for decades, due to the amount of the criminal fraud. On 20 other counts, Livoti was found not guilty.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola ordered Livoti, who had a $2 million bond, taken into custody immediately. He is being held at the Miami Federal Detention Center until his sentencing Feb. 21. He faces a potential life sentence because of the massive scale of the investment scam allegedly orchestrated by executives at Fort Lauderdale-based Mutual Benefits Corp.
Steven Steiner, who served with Anthony Livoti on the board of directors of CenterOne, once the oldest and largest HIV service agency in Broward County, has already been convicted in the scam. He has been sentenced to 15 years, but faces more time for two related convictions. That sentencing date is now set for next Monday.
Livoti’s defense attorney, Joel Hirschhorn, stated outside the courtroom to the Miami Herald, that his client was “crushed. He really is crushed.”
Livoti played the role of trustee who controlled Mutual Benefits’ investment accounts. He steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, arguing to the jury that Mutual executives lined their own pockets but kept him in the dark about the fraud. Livoti, who has recently served as the general counsel for the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police, was a popular LGBT lawyer who sustained many charitable causes over the decades.
For more on the story, read Jay Weaver’s piece in the Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/1bugQsS)Joseph Elliot