Guilty Plea in $13M Facebook, Groupon Securities and Wire Fraud Case

A former Chairman of the the Advisory Board of a professional mutual fund pleaded guilty today in federal court to a series of charges in a $13 million conspiracy to defraud in investors by falsely claiming that Praetorian Global Fund Ltd. privately owned pre-IPO Facebook and Groupon stock before each of the social media start-ups went public. In reality, the British Virgin Islands-based fund did not.

According to documents in the case, Mattera spent nearly $4 million of approximately $13 million illegally acquired in the conspiracy so that he and his family could have the accoutrements of a luxurious life: buying jewelry, expensive cars, and interior decorating projects.

Mattera pleaded guilty to:

  • One count of securities fraud
  • One count of wire fraud
  • One count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud

When he is sentenced in February 2013, Mattera faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the securities fraud and wire fraud counts, as well as an additional sentence of up to five years for his conspiracy conviction.

According to a civil complaint filed against Mattera by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November 2011, Mattera “has a long hìstory of criminal conduct.” In 2003 he was convicted of “defraud[ing] investors by selling securities that he falsely claimed to own” in three different Florida criminal cases. He pleaded guilty to charges in those cases, for which he was convicted on seven counts of grand theft.

You can view Mattera’s signed plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice below, and browse civil securities litigation against him and other defendants here.

Plea Agreement, U.S. v. John A. Mattera