A Macomb County man told people he is a builder who could make big money for anyone willing to invest in his projects, but it is possible the only thing he really built is a court case against him.
His alleged victims have filed a lawsuit saying they believe they fell for a multi-million dollar scheme.
“It is devastating,” said one plaintiff who spoke on the condition we not show his face. “It changes the whole future course of my life."
He says he is embarrassed to have lost $384,000 to possible fraud. He is not alone. A lawsuit filed in Macomb County says 11 plaintiffs lost more than $3.7 million.
They say the mastermind behind the alleged scheme is Gino Accettola from Shelby Township.
“His story is very well told, very detailed,” said Corey Silverstein, the attorney representing those suing Accettola.
The lawsuit says with the help of several co-defendants Accettola created a construction company. He offered interest and payments to people who agreed to finance construction projects.
“Each individual project had contracts,” said the plaintiff we spoke to.
He showed us letters and contracts that appeared to be with Moeller Aerospace in Wixom.
They promised hundreds of thousands of dollars, but there was a problem. Moeller Aerospace looked at some of the documentation, and said they were fake.
Workers at Moeller checked records and said there was no record of work done by Gino Accettola or his companies.
While Moeller had no record of Accettola, the Michigan Department of Corrections had an extensive record of his crimes. He apparently has stolen money before. He served time after being convicted of 13 counts, including taking money under false pretenses.
Attorney Corey Silverstein says he believes his clients fell victim to a Ponzi Scheme. He says he believes he used money from other victim to at first appear to make good on “investments.” That helped him convince his victims to hand over even more cash.
“Eventually the money dries up. The investors dry up and every thing comes crashing down,” said Silverstein.
“The man is a very sick man,” said the plaintiff we spoke to.
7 Action News spoke to Gino Accettola on the phone. He was asked if he had any proof he did any construction jobs that people “invested” in. He was asked if he stole millions of dollars.
He responded with, “No comment.”
“People's lives get destroyed,” said Silverstein. “They can’t pay their bills. They can’t feed their kids. And the consequences go on forever. They last a lifetime.”
“I still don’t know how I am going to go forward,” said the plaintiff.
He said he shared his story to raise awareness of what happened. He fears there are other victims out there who deserve justice.
“They should come forward.” said the plaintiff. “It is the only way we are going to bring him to justice."