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Montecito man pleads guilty to defrauding investors of nearly $1.5 million

Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 03, 2019

A Montecito man pleaded guilty Monday to one felony count of wire fraud for defrauding investors by making false promises to use their money to purchase shares of Facebook and Twitter prior to the companies’ initial public offerings, according to the Department of Justice.

Efstratios “Elias” Argyropoulos, 72, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on August 26.

Between October 2010 and October 2015, Argyropoulos operated Prima Ventures Corporation in Santa Barbara. The DOJ says he represented to investors that he had access to “amazing” investment opportunities that would provide a high rate of return on any money invested.

He reportedly told investors he would pool their money to purchase pre-initial public offering shares of companies like Facebook and Twitter and said he had access to good investment opportunities in companies such as Alibaba, Etsy, and E-Waste.

Instead of purchasing the stocks, the DOJ says Argyropoulos diverted the investor funds for other uses, causing at least $1,495,657 in losses.