and NBC News
Nassau County is located in western Long Island and is considered to be one of the highest-income counties in the United States, comprising one of the twenty-five wealthiest towns by median income according to a 2016 American Community Survey that was done by the US Census Bureau. There are pockets of significant wealth in towns such as Hewlett Neck, Munsey Park, Roslyn, Great Neck, Lawrence, Point Lookout, Atlantic Beach, and Garden City with median household incomes exceeding $250,000 and most homes priced between $500,000 to $1 million. Therefore, being a wealthy residential area, Nassau County has been vulnerable to various securities fraud schemes over the years.
Steven Pagartanis, a Setauket based financial advisor, schemed numerous single women as well as elderly families who innocently invested money allegedly expecting an 8% return. A dozen investors reportedly invested over $13,000,000 in total and lost about $9,000,000 dollars throughout the scheme which lasted between 2000-2018. Pagartanis supposedly used these investments to fund his extravagant lifestyle. The misleading marketing material lured investors that Pagartanis specifically catered his advertising to and cost many everyday women their life savings, specifically Roseanne Maggio, who purportedly lost $70,000 of her personal savings that were meant to go to her grandchildren. As of January 2020, news reports indicate that Pagartanis is ostensibly looking at 170 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release as well as over $6,000,000 dollars in restitution.
In another instance, a financial adviser, Paul Sullivan was allegedly charged with wire fraud after he executed a number of unauthorized trades and lost large sums of money on these trades. Sullivan reportedly got many of his friends and people from his community to trust him and his skill as a stockbroker so they would invest and he abused this trust. According to one victim, he was defrauded out of his entire life’s savings. This is the truth for many victims of Ponzi schemes or securities fraud, life savings are lost and homes are foreclosed. Another reported Ponzi scammer, Peter Dawson lived in a multimillion-dollar home in Huntington and was purportedly known for a lavish lifestyle which he financed by bilking 53 clients out of $11 million. Most of his victims were middle-class retirees living in New York and Florida, and to keep his Ponzi scheme alive he convinced them to take out second mortgages on their homes. Nassau County District Attorney’s office auctioned his home and possessions like expensive cufflinks to recoup the losses for his investors.
In another bizarre case, the SEC won a $34,000,000 judgment against tone company executives at PermaPave, and a Nassau County lawyer and ex-SEC counsel Fredric Aaron. They colluded to run a Ponzi scheme between 2006 and 2010, where they raised more than $260 million from over 140 investors by falsely presenting the demand for their product and health of the company, including issuing misleading press releases. Aaron allegedly used his former position in the SEC’s office to reassure investors about the safety of their investments. In a typical Ponzi scheme fashion, the investments went to fund the lifestyle of the schemers. Our securities fraud attorneys in Nassau have managed to secure large settlements for many victims of investor fraud.
In 2016, Nassau County’s top prosecutor, Arlene Markarian, also created a new unit focused on crimes against the elderly including financial crimes, because of a recent trend of financial exploitation of the elderly.
As recently as 2018, Anthony Vassallo, a resident of Farmingdale, reportedly pleaded guilty to securities fraud. He worked in Elite Stock Research as well as My Street Research as a former broker. Over the course of 3-4 years, Vassallo allegedly deceived investors by fraudulently controlling the price and amount of shares that investors traded as well as manipulating stocks. Anthony is one of 11 other defendants that reportedly concocted this scheme and bilked over $147,000,000 dollars out of various unknowing investors. Antony purportedly faces up to 5 years in prison and is awaiting sentencing alongside the other defendants in this case.
Fraud can impact everyday citizens from all walks of life. Malecki Law has worked to help support their clients and bring them favorable results since 1999. The firm represents investors, industry professionals, whistleblowers as well as everyday individuals that are impacted by the securities industry in some way. Malecki has experience in a range of cases including unsuitability, unauthorized trading, overconcentration, elder/affinity fraud as well as overtrading
If anyone you know has been a victim of the Ponzi scheme, unscrupulous broker conduct, elder financial, affinity fraud, real estate schemes or any such questionable financial activity take action now by calling (212) 943-1233 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.