A Denver CEO pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud Thursday in connection with bilking investors out of $ 11 million, according to federal prosecutors.
Samuel J. Mancini, 55, entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge Cecchi in Newark, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey.
Mancini managed and controlled Outdoor Capital Partners LLC (OCP), which he purported to be a venture capital and private equity firm, according to documents filed in the case and statements made in court. OCP served as the managing director of OCP Italia Fund LLC (OCP Italia), a private investment fund which Mancini used in a fraudulent scheme.
From February 2020 through July 2021, Mancini told investors that he was raising $ 20 million, including $ 5 million of his own, for OCP Italia to acquire controlling interests in three Italian cycling companies, the news release said. Mancini promised investors about 70% of OCP Italia’s profits.
Mancini, however, misrepresented his finances and his contribution to OCP Italia, prosecutors said. OCP Italia never acquired any of the Italian cycling companies. Instead, Mancini defaulted on contracts, diverted investor funds out of OCP Italia, and, in certain instances, paid investor funds to other investors.
Mancini lied to investors about his educational background, representing himself as a graduate of a prestigious military academy when, in fact, he failed to graduate because of an ethical violation, the release said. He fraudulently obtained about $ 11 million from victims.
The securities fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $ 5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 17. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil complaint against Mancini based on Mancini’s guilty plea.
The FBI, including the Denver field office, worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the case.