The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) today announced that Richard Leli was sentenced to 18 months in prison and four years of probation for his role in an investment scam. Leli paid $30,000 to a victim and was ordered to pay an additional $9,500 in restitution. He was also ordered to pay additional fees, including court costs and costs of prosecution.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “I hope this arrest serves as a warning to other criminals that if they commit fraud in Florida, they will be held accountable. As CFO, I am committed to working every day to put an end to fraud and using every resource available to put these bad actors behind bars. I appreciate the dedication of OFR, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit for bringing this criminal to justice.”
OFR Commissioner Russell C. Weigel, III said, “The Office of Financial Regulation is committed to working with our partners to stop financial scammers in their tracks. Thank you to our investigative team, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit for their hard work to bring this bad actor to justice.”
Leli was offering investments in both promissory notes and shares in his Naples-based company, SW Florida’s Finest Tire and Auto, LLC and failed to provide promised returns. According to victims, Leli convinced them to invest by representing that their money would provide start-up capital to lease space and purchase needed machinery for the company. The OFR investigation revealed, however, that the company was already in operation at the time the investments were solicited, and that most of the money was used for Leli’s personal living expenses.
The case was investigated by the OFR with assistance from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit.
Floridians who suspect questionable financial business practices are encouraged to file a complaint online at www.flofr.gov, or by calling (850) 487-9687.