SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego man accused of scamming at least seven investors out of $357,000 that he allegedly used for personal expenses was charged today with 149 felony counts.
John Giunti, 51, faces up to 46 years in state prison if convicted of securities fraud, grand theft, welfare fraud and perjury charges, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. Giunti, who was arrested in Florida, pleaded not guilty and remains in custody in lieu of $3 million bail pending a Jan. 16 readiness hearing.
Giunti, who owned Interactive Media Solutions, LLC, and allegedly falsely represented himself as a Columbia University business school graduate and Google business partner, used investors' funds to pay for vacations, private school tuition for his children and other personal expenses, prosecutors allege.
Potential investors deposited money into a bank account opened by the defendant's mother, according to the District Attorney's Office. While he advised her to make payments on the account, Giunti accessed it "as his personal cash cow,'' prosecutors allege.
He also allegedly reported that he was unemployed to the state of California and was collecting public assistance, leading to the welfare fraud charges. Giunti also caught the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017, which charged him and Interactive Media Solutions that summer with perpetuating a fraud in the offer or sale of securities.
Despite being prohibited from raising money from investors as a result of those allegation, prosecutors say he continued to sell securities to investors, attracting the attention of the district attorney's office and the FBI.
The District Attorney's Office believes there could be additional victims, and encouraged anyone with information to call 619-515-8596.