Leonardo Cositorto: Where is Generation Zoe’s Founder Now?

As a documentary living up to its title in every way imaginable, Netflix’s ‘Illusions for Sale: The Rise and Fall of Generation Zoe’ can only be described as equal parts baffling and gripping. That’s because it delves deep into the way a spiritual coaching network from Argentina turned out to be arguably one of the most ambitious and bizarre pyramid scheme scams targeting the entire globe. And right at its front and center is this organization’s founder, CEO, and president, Leonardo Cositorto, who admittedly still maintains that he doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong.

Leonardo Cositorto is a Hustler in More Ways Than One

Since Leonardo hails from a rather middle-class family who faced serious trouble when the bookstore they owned had to be closed down during one of Argentina’s many economic crises, he knows the importance of hard work. In fact, once his father took him under his wing and mentored him in the art of door-to-door sales, he made it his own by adding some charm and arguably became one of the best salesmen the nation had ever seen. After all, when he was just 16, he managed to accomplish some big sales after overcoming his crippling stutter and just letting his natural charm take over.

Therefore, of course, by the time Leonardo was 21, he was itching to spread his wings, resulting in him traveling to Spain to evolve into a professional by landing a job at the multinational direct sales company DS-MAX. According to his own account, this was a piece of cake to him since the economy was so stable he didn’t even have to get into many convincing spoils, as he had to back home in Argentina, with inflation often reaching 3000%. Little did he know his entire world would soon turn upside down thanks to his understanding of network marketing, especially as it enabled him to earn his first million by the age of 24.

It was thus only in 1994 that Leonardo returned to Buenos Aires, where he opened and closed several of his own selling businesses — like perfumes as well as prepaid calling cards — over the ensuing decade. The success of these not only enabled him to lead a comfortable life but also pushed him toward the path of evangelism and spirituality. In fact, he became ordained as a Christian minister before starting to study ontological (personal development) coaching in 2003. So, with all his experiences combined, he came up with the idea of Generación Zoe in 2017, which would combine tourism, ontological coaching, and branding.

However, it wasn’t until 2019 that Leonardo’s organization really took off, that is, until he realized the power of digital marketing and stock trading, driving him to begin offering consumers courses on stock trading. They also claimed to venture into the investment arena directly, with a promise of a monthly return of a high 7.5% over three years on any investments over $500, making them land many investors. He once said, “I generated a new disruptive model, a new offer in the Latin American market, [so that] people with low and medium income could access a privileged education.”

Though nobody ever expected Generación Zoe to grow to such an extent, they had 75 branches worldwide by early 2022, along with a plethora of flourishing businesses across all industries, a banded church named Aviva Zoe, plus Zoe Cash cryptocurrency, which was backed by gold from gold mines that they apparently owned in Dubai. However, everything began changing in 2021 when they introduced robots as the value of Zoe Cash plummeted, and no investor could actually withdraw their earned interests on investment. The money was gone; per reports, Generación Zoe took advantage of thousands of investors throughout its operations to fill its own pockets and had received at least $120 million during its last six months in Argentina alone, meaning the total scam could be up to at least $200 million.

Leonardo Cositorto is Behind Bars Awaiting Trial

It was in early 2022 when the authorities raided Generación Zoe’s base and the homes of several high-profile names involved with it, just to lead to them having a rather concise list of those wanted. At the top was Leonardo, yet he was on the lam, so it wasn’t until Interpol managed to trace him down to a luxury Airbnb in the Dominican Republic that he was arrested for good – it was April 3, 2022. He was subsequently extradited to Argentina, where he was charged with 173 incidents of fraud involving at least 76 victims in Villa Maria, with investigations still ongoing to uncover the full scope of this scam.

Leonardo was given a chance to plead guilty in exchange for a lenient sentence, yet he refused to do so, maintaining that although his company wasn’t formally registered in his homeland, it was a full-fledged business that cheated no one. In fact, he has gone as far as to assert that if he had access to a phone, he could redo everything again and not just prove that Generación Zoe works but also help all those who lost money earn most of it back. Therefore, today, with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Villa Maria having announced they’ll proceed with a criminal trial, he remains detained at a correctional facility, awaiting trial – if convicted, he faces at least twenty years in prison.

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