Mill Basin man charged with scamming friends and family out of $440,000

A Mill Basin man has been charged with stealing more than $440,000 from at least 22 people after promising to invest their money in securities, according to District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

The defendant allegedly told people that he had an investment company and convinced nearly two dozen people to invest in multiple initial public offerings in increments beginning at $12,500, between October 2011 and July 2017, according to the district attorney’s office.

After the initial investment, the defendant allegedly reported high return rates and many of the victims chose to reinvest and continued to give him money, believing that the venture was highly profitable. His first alleged victim was a man he met at a local gym, and later his victims included relatives, lifelong friends, and neighbors, according to the indictment.

Financial records revealed that the defendant never made any investments or opened any accounts, but would instead deposit the investment checks into one of three accounts that he controlled — and all payments from these accounts were personal, including vacations, restaurants and personal credit card payments, according to an investigation by the district attorney’s office.

He also allegedly made cash withdrawals totaling more than $200,000.

The defendant was arraigned on Aug. 28 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 43-count indictment, including the charges of first-degree scheme to defraud, second- and third-degree grand larceny, and first-degree falsifying business records.

The defendant was ordered held on bail of $500,000 bond or $200,000 cash and to return to court on Oct. 10.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.