Mill Basin man who allegedly scammed investors indicted on grand larceny
A Mill Basin man was arraigned yesterday on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing more than $440,000 that he was supposed to invest in securities for at least 22 people, including his friends, family, neighbors and others.
Joseph Casertano, 56, of Mill Basin, was arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 43-count indictment in which he is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, second- and third-degree grand larceny, general business law, 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.
Between Oct. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2017, the defendant allegedly told people that he had an investment company, Shelter Island Leverage, and convinced 22 people to invest in multiple initial public offerings (IPOs) in increments beginning at $12,500.
After the initial investment, the defendant allegedly reported high rates of return and some of the victims were given account numbers and statements showing various stock trades and account balances. Many of the victims opted to reinvest and continued to give the defendant more money, believing that the investment was highly profitable. Casertano’s first alleged victim was a man he met at a local gym. Some of the investors convinced their friends and family to invest in the scheme. Among the victims were the Casertano’s relatives, lifelong friends and neighbors.
It is alleged that when people attempted to withdraw money Casertano would tell them they were precluded from withdrawing due to securities regulations. In some instances, it is alleged, he would give small amounts of money back as proof that the accounts were real.
Financial records show that Casertano never made any investments or opened any accounts, according to the investigation, but would instead deposit the investment checks into one of three accounts that he controlled. All expenditures from those accounts were personal, including vacations, restaurants and personal credit card payments. He also allegedly made cash withdrawals totaling more than $200,000.
“The defendant is charged with stealing the hard-earned money of people who put their trust in him” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “We will now do all that we can to hold him accountable for the devastating losses they suffered while he was allegedly living the high life with their savings.”
—Information from the DA’s Office
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