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October 14, 2011

Long Island's "mini-Madoff" gets 25-year prison term

As detailed in this Reuters report, a "Long Island man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday after admitting to stealing more than $195 million from thousands of investors in the course of a five-year, $400-million Ponzi scheme."  Here is more:

Nicholas Cosmo, 40, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley to repay $179 million to more than 4,000 investors who thought they were investing in short-term commercial bridge loans through Cosmo's two Long Island-based companies, Agape World Inc and Agape Merchant Advance.

Instead, prosecutors said, Cosmo used new investments to pay returns to investors, in a classic Ponzi structure.  Media accounts dubbed Cosmo a "mini-Madoff" following his arrest in January 2009, because of the similarity of his scheme to that of New York investment manager Bernard Madoff's multi-billion-dollar swindle, which had been discovered only weeks earlier.

Cosmo pleaded guilty in October 2010 to federal mail and wire fraud charges.  Under federal sentencing guidelines he faced up to 40 years in prison.  In contrast to many of Madoff's victims, who were well-off Manhattan residents, charities and companies, prosecutors said, Cosmo and Agape preyed on working-class families, U.S. soldiers and others who wound up losing all or part of their life savings....

This will be the second fraud-related prison term for Cosmo.  In 1999, he was sentenced to serve 21 months after admitting to having misled investors, commingled funds and forged documents while working at a stock brokerage firm.  He was stripped of his broker's license by the National Association of Securities Dealers in 2000 and forbidden from associating with other registered securities dealers.

October 14, 2011 at 04:09 PM | Permalink


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