Michael J. Muzio, one of four co-conspirators in a Ponzi scheme that targeted South Florida Haitian-Americans, has been sentenced to 163 months in federal prison.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In April, New Times told you about the $14.3 million scheme, which offered to double investors' cash in 90 days. Two of Muzio's cronies have already been sentenced to five years in prison. The 46-year-old Tampa resident's sentence is likely longer because this isn't his first rodeo. Muzio has a bizarre history that includes nearly being whacked by Italian mobsters.
The registered owner of 24 businesses in Florida, ranging from record companies to medical services firms to a "pizza music café," Muzio was arrested seven times between 1988 and 1990 for passing worthless checks in Tampa. In 1995, two Mafia-connected hit men were arrested for allegedly planning to off him in a contract killing. According to the St. Petersburg Times, associates of his medical services business, including a doctor, planned the hit because he owed them $900,000.
And in 2006, he was convicted of grand larceny in New York and was sentenced to five years' probation -- which is about the time he returned to South Florida to man the "pump" of half of the Delray-based pump-and-dump Ponzi scheme called Homepals, Inc., which raided the savings of roughly 600 gullible Haitians. He was indicted in October 2009 and faced a maximum of 190 years in prison.
The scam's alleged ringleader, Ronnie E. Bass, will face jury trial July 19.