Gatto Admits Guilt in Gold Mine Scam

Jerome C. Gatto, who federal prosecutors in San Diego say tried to bilk J. David (Jerry) Dominelli out of $125,000 in early 1984, pleaded guilty Monday to two felonies in federal court in Salt Lake City.

Gatto had been charged with attempting to defraud a Southern California businesswoman of $100,000.

The alleged scheme involved a gold mine near Yosemite that was supposedly owned by Gatto. But by the time Carol Diane Cook, a real estate developer from Marina del Rey, paid Gatto $100,000, the gold mine already had been sold to another of Gatto’s defrauded investors.

Gatto pleaded guilty to securities fraud and to inducing travel across state lines with the intention to defraud. He will be sentenced July 19 and faces up to 10 years in federal prison.


The probation department in Salt Lake City has recommended that Gatto be sent to the Federal Correctional Institution at Pleasanton in Northern California, about 40 miles east of San Francisco and close to Gatto’s family.

Federal authorities officials in San Diego have recommended that Dominelli also be jailed at the Pleasanton facility.

In early 1984, Dominelli paid Gatto and Joseph C. Bonanno Jr. $125,000, supposedly to secure a $125 million loan that federal officials allege was never going to be made.