John bravata



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Description: Former Chairman John Bravata of Southfield-based BBC Equities LLC was convicted by a federal court jury Wednesday on 15 charges, in a trial that accused him or running a Ponzi scheme out of his investment firm from 2006 to 2009.

Former Chairman John Bravata, 45, of Southfield-based BBC Equities LLC was convicted by a federal court jury Wednesday on 15 charges in a trial that accused him of running a Ponzi scheme out of his investment firm from 2006 to 2009.

Jurors also convicted his son and sales associate, Antontio Bravata, 25, on a single charge following the eight-week trial on conspiracy and wire fraud. Both now await sentencing June 18 before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit.

Federal prosecutors alleged Bravata collected $53 million from investors in a scheme involving real estate purchases at the real estate investment fund he co-owned with partner and company CEO Richard Trabulsy of Canton.

Trabulsy, 32, pleaded guilty last fall to wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with the government's case against Bravata. Both are also defendants in a civil lawsuit brought in 2009 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission .

Authorities say he collected $53 million from more than 500 investors through BBC Equities and investment advisory firm Bravata Financial Group LLC. offering real estate investments that in some cases guaranteed annual returns of 8 percent to 12 percent. Rather than invseting the money in real estate, much of the money was spent to support the lavish lifestyles of the defendants.

Bravata has denied fraud and contends he invested in real estate that simply turned sour during the recession.

At least 13 of 23 Detroit-area employees of BBC Equities invested their own money in the equity fund; an additional 12 of the 64 employees working around the country also invested, according to previous Crain's stories. The SEC froze the assets of the fund when it brought the civil lawsuit.

The indictment also alleges Bravata and Trabulsy collected more than $2 million in salaries and commissions from BBC even though a private placement memorandum stated the fund managers would be paid only if BBC was profitable and investors made money.

John Bravata was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and 15 counts of wire fraud. Antonio Bravata was conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum possible penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“White collar criminals may use sophisticated methods, but their crime is nothing more than stealing other people’s money,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in a statement. “These defendants targeted






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