Poughkeepsie Fence Installer Implicated in Florida Ponzi Scheme – Westfair Online | Vette Leader

The owner of a Poughkeepsie fencing firm who recently filed for bankruptcy protection appears to have been working a part-time job hiring investors for a Florida scam.

Burton W. Wiand, a court-appointed receiver for Oasis International Group, a Longboat Key, Fla. company that raised $84 million from nearly a thousand investors in a Ponzi scheme, sued Rocco Garbellano III Aug. 3 in the US – Poughkeepsie Bankruptcy Court. He is asking the court to stop Garbellano from entering a $350,000 court order issued in the Oasis case.

“Garbellano engaged in an elaborate ruse to coax, cajole and coerce investors to coax, cajole and coerce Oasis International Group Limited,” Wiand claims, “to defraud and deceive those investors while they Operators of the Ponzi scheme — and those who made the scheme possible, like Garbellano — lined their pockets.”

Garbellano’s bankruptcy attorney, Anne J. Penachio, did not respond to an email request for her client’s page.

Garbellano owns Rocky’s Fence Co., according to his website, “the only local company you can trust for all your fencing needs.”

Last May, he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, known as the wage earner plan, which allows debtors to pay off all or part of their debt in installments spread over a few years.

He declared $170,701 in assets and $538,067 in liabilities. The primary asset is a half interest in his house. The primary liability is a $268,000 “potential” claim from the Oasis case, flagged as disputed.

He attributed his financial situation to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business and a court ruling against him in an Oasis civil case in Tampa. He told an attorney who interviewed him in the Florida case in 2020 that he had “little, if any, money in the bank and was living paycheck to paycheck,” according to the attorney’s affidavit.

According to press releases from the US Department of Justice, Oasis was ostensibly formed to trade the foreign exchange market and investors were told they would receive at least a 12% return per year.

But the company did few deals, instead using investor money to pay for lavish lifestyles for its main operators. Money from new investors was also used to pay previous investors in classic Ponzi style to hide the scam and keep the system running.

One of the Oasis directors was Michael J. DaCorta, whom Garbellano had known for 30 years, according to Wiand’s bankruptcy filing. Garbellano knew how the Oasis program worked, Wiand argues, because he had invested in previous programs with DaCorta, worked for him as a salesperson, and lost money at a previous venture with him.

“Garbellano’s sole purpose was to bring new investors and new funds into Oasis,” the complaint reads.

He refused to invest his own money in Oasis. DaCorta offered him a position in sales that paid commissions so he could recoup previous losses. DeCorta also gave Garbellano the key to a home in New York that he left when he moved to Florida.

“These details provided by Garbellano paint a picture of two people having an enduring and well-established relationship,” Wiand’s complaint reads. “Garbellano knew of DaCorta’s past mistakes and yet chose to recruit, refer, and collect investor-victims into the Ponzi scheme, accepting $268,6793 in return.”

Last May, a federal jury in Tampa found DaCorta guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. He is due to be sentenced this fall.

In the meantime, Wiand had been authorized in the civil proceedings against Oasis to reclaim funds for defrauded investors.

In 2020, a Tampa judge entered a $349,921 default judgment against Garbellano, covering commissions plus interest from 2012 through 2019. He appealed the verdict, but before a hearing was scheduled for May 11, he filed for bankruptcy protection and the court automatically froze a Tampa case.

Wiand argues that Garbellano’s Oasis commissions resulted from false pretense, misrepresentation, or actual fraud and therefore could not be dismissed in bankruptcy.

Garbellano earned $41,112 last year, $41,005 in 2020 and $64,211 in 2019, according to a bankruptcy plan. The petition does not indicate whether any of the reported income was from Oasis. According to the Oasis case in Tampa, he received $37,573 in 2019, the program’s final year.

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