Moviehouse Madoff! Former Heights Cinema owner pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme

The Brooklyn Paper
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The former owner of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema pleaded guilty on Monday to scamming investors out of $530,000 — rolling the credits on a local drama fit for the multiplex he once owned.

Ponzi schemer Norman Adie confessed that he promised victims that he would build condos over his Henry Street theater, but instead pocketed the cash for personal expenses and other projects.

He faces an 80-year sentence when he returns to Manhattan federal court on April 13, but it will likely be reduced to 27 to 33 months, his attorney said.

“My intention … was to build a successful business — as I had in the past — with the expectation that myself and all the investors would profit in the end,” Adie, 54, told Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz. “I’m very sorry.”

Prosecutors say that Adie began duping people into financing in his phantom development plans in 2007. He even collected $280,000 from one investor and shuffled the cash between bank accounts used by the theater and two of his troubled screens in Pennsylvania.

Then, in pure Ponzi scheme fashion, Adie managed to return some of the money to his victims, though it was peanuts compared to what he promised.

The feds busted Adie last year, charging him with securities and wire fraud.

But the quirky twin cinema got a happy ending.

This summer, local musician and left-wing hero Kenn Lowy bought the tumbledown 150-seat movie house and is transforming it into a hub for music, art and comedy shows in addition to indie flicks.

“I don’t think he was out to steal money from people,” Lowy said. “But he did something foolish and now he’s paying for it.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Posted 12:00 am, December 13, 2011
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