Queens Man is Sent to Prison for 25 Years for $413M Scam

For six years, between 2003 and 2009, Nicholas Cosmo ran a $413 million Ponzi scheme. He owned Agape World Incorporated and Agape Merchant Advance LLC and has just been ordered to spend the next 25 years in prison, according to Bloomberg and other sources. Richard Barry, a former vice president and underwriter at Agape World Incorporated, has also pleaded guilty to aiding in the Ponzi scheme and is up for sentencing on November 2, 2011. Agape is said to have had offices in Hauppauge on Long Island and in New York City’s Queen’s neighborhoods of Maspeth and Jackson Heights.

Federal prosecutors alleged that he hustled money from unsuspecting investors that went to make short term bridge loans. The money he generated from investors was far more than what he needed for the loans, according to the article. Naturally, he pocketed the rest to be used for his own personal use and benefit. In fact, only around $30 million, or less than 10%, of the $413 million was used for the bridge loans. The cases are U.S. v. Cosmo, 09-cr-00255 and U.S. v. Barry, 10-cr-00648, U.S. District Court, Eastern district of New York (Central Islip).

In a pronouncement that crime does not pay, the U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch out of Brooklyn made it clear that “those who lie and steal from the investing public are on notice that they face severe penalties.” She went on to assess the testimony by saying, “as recounted today in court by several of his victims, the defendant’s actions crushed the hopes and dreams of everyday citizens.”

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