Question: In 1997 Peter Zaccagnino sold to investors historical bonds issued by
In 1997, Peter Zaccagnino sold to investors historical bonds-issued by railroad and foreign governments-that he claimed were high-yield secu rities. In reality, the bonds had no value to anyone other than to collectors of historical documents. Peter obtained over $6.8 million from the sale of these bonds. During this time, his wife, Gigi, attended meetings where her husband represented to investors that the bonds could yield 7 to 30 percent of their valuation within a year. Zaccagnino sold the historical bonds through two corporate entities and deposited most of the sales proceeds into the corporations' accounts. One of those corporations was Wonder Glass Products, of which Gigi was the secretary, treasurer, and director. She received $5,200 a month from her employment with Wonder Glass. In March 1998, Gigi incorporated a business called Diamond in the Rough (DIR) in the British Virgin Islands, of which she was president, secretary, and director. Peter promoted DIR as a firm that placed client funds into high-yield offshore investment programs, promising investors substantial earnings. At one DIR meeting with prospective purchasers, Gigi sat at a table and made prospective investors promise that they would not record the meeting. Meanwhile, Peter told them that they could make huge sums of money with the proposed investments and that he had been arranging similar investments successfully for so long that he was ready to retire. This foreign investment scheme earned Peter millions in addition to the money from the historical bond sales. When the federal government prosecuted Peter and Gigi for conspiracy and racketeering, Gigi claimed that she became aware of the criminal conduct only in December 1999, when she overheard her husband and one of his business partners laughing about the falsity of the statements they sent to investors. Did the court accept Gigi's argument or was she found to have willfully engaged in criminal conduct while acting for the corporations?
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