By David Madden
LAUREL SPRINGS, N.J. (CBS) — A Camden County man is facing a 35-count federal indictment charging him with defrauding a would-be investor.
Giovanni Arena, 56, of Laurel Springs is accused of mail fraud, money laundering, failing to file tax returns, and witness tampering, all involving a business enterprise that never got off the ground.
“The defendant had operated pizza restaurants in the past, and he convinced his victim to invest 1.2 million dollars to purchase a pizza shop in southern New Jersey,” says Paul Fishman, a US attorney in New Jersey.
That money, however, allegedly went to pay for Arena’s lifestyle which included luxury cars including a Maserati, a BMW, a Camaro, and gambling in Atlantic City.
The feds say Arena didn’t file taxes for three of the four years the scheme supposedly went on. Fishman adds that when authorities started coming down on Arena, the victim was told to keep quiet — or else.