Rockford CEO Accused of Running Ponzi Scheme

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some ripped off investors are calling him Rockford's Bernie Madoff. Federal prosecutors say the man in charge of Commercial Mortgage and Finance stole more than $20 million from people who were just trying to save for retirement.

After digging into the case and learning about what allegedly happened to all of that money, it appears that a lot of it is gone.

However, the lawyer representing the creditors, people who invested up to half a million with Commercial Mortgage and Finance, says he's trying to get them at least 20% of their money back by next summer.

This week prosecutors indicted 77-year-old Anthony D'Agonstino, the former President of Commercial Mortgage and Finance. Court documents say he ran a Ponzi scheme in Rockford for more than a decade, bilking nearly 1400 people out of their money. Sengla Vanmanivong was one of those investors. She lost $100,000 after investing with the company for 30 years.

"I didn't think he was a thief, he should have told us the truth,” said Vanmanivong.

D'Agostino will be in court on December 27th, for a formal arraignment.

As for whether or not these were risky investments, it depends on who you ask. Some of these people thought Commercial Mortgage and Finance was like a bank - but it turns out they weren't a bank and they weren't FDIC insured. After looking at court documents, it appears as if the company never actually turned a profit.

Calls to D'Agostino's home were not returned.

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