A well-known Northern Virginia businessman pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple fraud schemes that cheated investors out of roughly $20 million.
Todd Hitt, 54, pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to what prosecutors described as a Ponzi scheme.
Hitt solicited approximately $30 million from investors for a variety of projects in the D.C. area, including $17 million for an office building near a future stop on Metro's Silver Line, a Department of Justice news release said.
"Hitt made false statements and material omissions to investors by failing to disclose that a significant portion of the monies raised were commingled with other unrelated investment projects, used for personal spending to support an extravagant lifestyle and new investor’s funds used to pay off old investors in a Ponzi-like scheme," the release said.
Federal prosecutors say Hitt falsely claimed that his firm, Kiddar Capital, managed $1.4 billion in assets and had offices in the D.C. area, London, Houston and Palm Springs.
But the company's only office was in Falls Church, Virginia, and it had assets of only about $26 million, The Washington Post reported based on an FBI agent's affidavit.
According to court documents, Hitt, 54, used some of the investors' money on personal expenses like vacations and sports tickets.
The FBI began investigating after receiving complaints from Hitt's employees.
Hitt has been involved in numerous real estate projects in Northern Virginia. His family founded Hitt Contracting, a major construction firm in the area.
He faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in June.