NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A Marine veteran in Pasco County says he's also the victim of a fraudulent stockbroker accused of taking more than $40,000 from a couple 10 years ago.
Now Michael Motola is accused of taking money from Dennis Michael.
Michael says his life changed forever when he says he was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in January 2018.
“I broke both ankles and my back. I couldn’t stand, move or walk for that seven to eight months being incapacitated.”
It was around that time Michael met Motola. Michael lent $4,000 with the promise of getting the money back and more.
“He said he’s got the money. He’s got tons of money. You can come to the Cayman Islands with me. You name it this guy has said it.”
An investigation by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office found Motola claimed to be a stockbroker and took hundreds of thousands of dollars from people, convincing them he would invest the money and get big returns.
He met some of the victims at his own children's sporting events, including the Gagny’s who lost more than $40,000.
“He’s a predator. He preys on people. Innocent people that don’t know any better. And I didn’t know any better," said Tony Gagny Sr,
Dennis says Motola took advantage of him while he was recovering from the crash. Michael says if he knew Motola's criminal history, he says he never would have never given him anything.
“I’m appalled. I’m appalled," said Michael. "Everybody else that you've seen on, you know, documentation, these people are elderly, they're retired, they're out here — they don’t have any issues they’ll send the money. They’ll give the money anytime," said Michael.
Investigators say Motola stole at least a million dollars.
He violated probation and is back in jail awaiting sentencing next month.