John A. Giunti, 51, who was apprehended in Florida and extradited to San Diego, was arraigned today in Department 101 of the downtown Superior Court.
Giunti used his mother to open a bank account in order to direct potential investors into depositing money into that account. He would then direct his mother to make payments as needed while he used an ATM to access the business account as his personal cash cow.
“This complex securities fraud case was solved by the expertise and collaboration of the investigators in our office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the FBI,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Thanks to everyone’s efforts, this scheme was stopped before any more victims were defrauded.”
The SEC first received a complaint about Giunti several years ago and launched an investigation that revealed his company, Interactive Media Solutions, LLC, was engaging in fraudulent activity. In July 2017, the SEC charged Interactive Media Solutions with perpetuating a fraud in the offer or sale of securities and in August of 2017, Giunti was prohibited from raising money from investors in any securities offering and was fined $457,960.
Giunti remained undeterred and continued to sell securities to unsuspecting investors, eventually gaining the attention of the FBI and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
As of today, Giunti is charged with stealing more than $357,650 from seven victims through multiple transactions, however, the District Attorney’s Office believes there could be additional victims. They are encouraged to call (619) 515-8596.
Giunti is also charged with multiple counts of welfare fraud because while he held himself out to be a successful entrepreneur and earned an income from his startup company, he falsely reported to the State of California being unemployed and collected public assistance.
At today’s arraignment, Giunti pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $3 million. If convicted of all charges, Giunti is facing up to 46 years in state prison. He will be in court again on January 16 for a readiness hearing.