April 25, 2012

Four former employees of a Long Island-based investment firm were charged Wednesday with running a Ponzi fraud that cost more than 4,000 investors $179 million in losses, federal prosecutors said.

Jason Keryc, Anthony Massaro, Anthony Ciccone and Diane Kaylor, misled investors at Agape World Inc and Agape Merchant Advance, by using other investors’ money to pay returns, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in a federal court in Central Islip, New York. It was a classic Ponzi scheme that ran for about five years and pulled in $400 million, the complaint said.

… The defendants, who worked as either account representatives or brokers at Agape and Agape Merchant Advance, misrepresented the safety of the high-risk trades they made on customers’ behalf, promising high rates of return on what they depicted as low-risk investments in short-term commercial loans, the complaint said.

But instead of using investors’ money as promised, the defendants used most of the funds to pay other investors and to make unauthorized trades in high-risk futures and commodities, according to the complaint.

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