A former Kings County investment manager who once promised clients “all the resources of a true financial concierge” now faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud Wednesday.
John Cucinella, 41, will also forfeit $948,530 that he embezzled from investors as part of his plea deal with prosecutors, according to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
“John Cucinella represented himself to investors as a ‘financial concierge’, but rather than service the needs of elderly investors, he swindled them out of thousands of dollars and then spent the money on himself,” Donoghue said.
Cucinella’s scheme to defraud investors began in March 2015, when the onetime Mackrow Asset Management Group finance guru lied to clients by claiming he could use their funds to purchase stock in private companies before they went public.
During his four-year security fraud scheme, Cucinella transferred $400,000 from the Mackrow accounts he controlled, spending roughly $108,000 on credit card payments, along with $40,000 at a Brooklyn Mercedes-Benz dealership. All told, more than 80 people invested $778,000 with Macrow, but only received $80,818 in payouts, Donoghue said.
A spokesman for Donoghue declined to comment regarding the discrepancy between the roughly $948,000 forfeiture, and the $778,000 in investments with Macrow, but he was able to confirm that the payout would be given in restitution to Cucinella’s victims.