The New Yorker pleads responsible to the $ 200 million Ponzi program that defrauds first responders

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A Long Island jewelry wholesaler pleaded guilty in connection with a $ 200 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 80 investors, including police officers and firefighters, according to the Justice Department.

Gregory Altieri has been behind bars for up to 20 years, according to federal law enforcement officials, for running a Ponzi program from 2017 to early 2020. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sued the 53-year-old for at least three violations of the SEC

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the eastern borough of New York said Altieri’s plan began in August 2017 when it requested investments of $ 75 million to $ 85 million for its LNA Associates company from more than 80 investors in Queens, Staten Island . Long Island and elsewhere, ”read a press release from the office.

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“Altieri informed investors that their money would be used to buy jewelry at ‘close-up’ prices, which would then be resold at a high profit, bringing a return on these investments of between 30 and 70 percent within a few months” the US Attorney said

The 53-year-old resident of Melville, NY, promised potential investors guaranteed returns “ranging from about 30 percent of an investor’s original investment to sometimes over 100 percent in a short period of time,” the SEC claims.

Altieri’s investors included current and retired first aiders, according to the SEC.

“While Altieri initially bought jewelry with investor money, since around May 2018, Altieri has been using money from new investors to pay previous investors, which the latter group showed they were getting returns on their investments,” the US attorney said. The alleged “returns” were used by Altieri to convince previous investors to keep their money with its LNA Associates by “converting” their funds into new investments. Some of this money was used to buy additional jewelry.

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Officials said Altieri stopped paying investors altogether in January 2020. At the time, he owed them about $ 200 million “based on the misinflated promised returns,” officials said.

Altieri’s attorney Edward Sapone told Long Island Newspaper Newsday that his client “should be shown mercy and mercy”.

“He has taken full responsibility,” said Sapone, “and has made Herculean efforts to correct his wrongdoing.”

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