Leonardo Cositorto claims “no scam”, more Gen Zoe arrests
This week we began documenting Leonardo Cositorto’s travels across Colombia.
Speaking to Colombian radio station W Radio just over a week ago, Cositorto maintains he’s in Colombia legally.
Cositorto is founder of the collapsed Generation Zoe Ponzi scheme.
He purportedly has an Interpol red notice out on him from Argentina, making his free travel across Colombia all the more bizarre.
Rather than acknowledge he is wanted for fraud, Cositorto (right) attributes Argentina’s warrant to “political persecution”.
He went on to tell W Radio;
I have already clarified that on many occasions, I will not move forward until the resolution in second instance that was requested for the request for freedom for my person is resolved, this to be able to present myself, in addition to the moment I have not been subpoenaed.
I can travel without any problem, that was a request from the prosecutor who is aware of the case and has a bit of a heavy hand, but at that moment I am approaching cities in Colombia because the problem here is political, because they took some photos of me from a political act.
Argentinian authorities began the Generation Zoe crackdown in mid February. Cositorto was spotted shilling for a Colombian senate hopeful almost a month later.
In case it wasn’t clear, Cositorto claims Argentinian authorities are persecuting him for political acts he hadn’t committed at the time.
When specifically asked about his Ponzi scamming, Costitorto stated he’d achieved “extraordinary results”.
If you’re wondering how Cositorto evaded capture, he did so via inside help.
On March 9th Argentine authorities arrested First Corporal Guillermo Ardiles.
Ardiles, a Federal Police officer since 2014, has been charged with aggravated concealment.
Prosecutors allege Ardiles leaked sensitive information to Generation Zoe leaders prior to last month’s raids.
Two other police officers have been arrested in connection to Generation Zoe. One of them, arrested on February 23rd, was released on March 18th.
Officer Juliana Bollea maintains she is a victim of the Ponzi scheme. An investigation into her involvement revealed social media posts made “towards the end of 2021”.
In the posts Bollea showed off a new Fiat Cronos purchase, attributing the acquisition to and thanking Generation Zoe.
Argentine Prosecutors are also seeking the arrest of Hector Luis Yrimia.
Yrimia was Generation Zoe’s legal adviser. He is wanted on financial fraud charges related to the Ponzi scheme.
News of Yrimia’s arrest warrant dropped on Thursday and was accompanied by additional raids.
Argentine authorities raided Yrimia’s law offices, as well as those of Norman Prospero.
Prospero worked as Generation Zoe’s CFO and was arrested last month.
Prosecutors believe Yrimia has fled Argentina late last year after being tipped off. Like Cositorto, he is now a fugitive on the run.
A third raid was conducted on a house belonging to the daughter of Maximilano Batista.
The raid led to seizure of computers, phones, cash and a Mercedes-Benz.
Batista is seen as second in command of Generation Zoe, under Cositorto.
There seems to have been some confusion as to his status. Back in mid February Cositorto was believed to be one of two Generation Zoe executives arrested – hence the byline for the photo above.
Turns out Batista also fled abroad. After his daughter’s house was raided, Batista, through his lawyer, has announced he will return to Argentina to face justice.
Batista’s lawyer claims his daughter
doesn’t even know what Zoe is.
I don’t know why they raided her. She got the fright of her life and they treated her pretty badly.
Batista is expected to arrive in Argentina on Monday March 21st.
Twelve Generation Zoe scammers have been arrested in Argentina so far, with that number expect to rise over the coming weeks.
On March 17th a federal judge authorized ten additional raids in Argentina.
The judge ordered the seizure of all accounting and corporate books of companies linked to Generation Zoe and of “all the contracts that they have signed”, in addition to computers that are in the homes.
The raids ordered in the city of Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires localities seek to “deepen the investigation into the origin of the funds that made the exponential growth of Generation Zoe possible.
The creation of companies through which millions were moved through is also being investigated.
Between March and November 2021, 14 commercial companies were created, some of them on the same day.
Among these are “Prioli Construcciones SA”, “Generación Zoe SA”, “Universidad del Trading SA”, and “Zoe Construcciones SA”, incorporated on March 18, 2021.
Movements of more than seven million dollars were detected in virtual wallets, despite the fact that many of the companies did not register commercial movements.
While on the run, Cositorto has launched Generation Zoe’s successor, Sunrise Coach.
Cositorto claims Sunrise Coach has signed up 40,000 investors at $2000 a pop. This claim has not been verified.
He maintains Generation Zoe collapsed due to “problems, bribes and people who invented things”.
Update 22nd March 2022 – Maximilano Batista has been arrested upon arriving in Argentina.
Leonardo Cositorto remains at large in Colombia.