Feds Probe Another Possible Ponzi Scheme

Agape investor: "I'm scared"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    WNBC
    Investigators were busy at Agape on Monday, and the company's CEO, is a wanted man.

    A Long Island man accused of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme is now a wanted man.

    Nicholas Cosmo is the founding president of Agape World Investments, and late Monday afternoon, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    Agape World And Its CEO Are Being Investigated

    [NY] Agape World And Its CEO Are Being Investigated
    The founding president of Agape is a wanted man. (Published Monday, Jan 26, 2009)

    On Friday, Cosmo received a police escort from the office after more than 20 investors showed up there, demanding information about their accounts.

    Cosmo was convicted of felony fraud in 1999 and sentenced to 21 months in prison. He was released the following year.

    Shaken Investor "Scared" About His Savings

    Shaken investors Monday rushed to the offices of Agape World Inc. in Hauppauge and Jackson Heights, worried that their life savings may be lost.

    Federal investigators armed with a warrant began to search the Agape offices Monday afternoon. Officials are looking into whether the investments were lost due to fraud -- perhaps a Ponzi scheme -- which could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, sources said.

    Agape World CEO Nicholas Cosmo told some investors on Friday that all payouts are suspended because real-estate deals the firm backed are facing foreclosure.

    One investor, airplane machinist Carlos Leon, said he went to Agape's office on 37th Avenue, only to find it closed.

    "I'm scared," said Leon, who added that he invested his $30,000 in life savings with the firm. "I've been calling. They are not telling me anything."

    Numerous other investors were at the Hauppauge offices. One who did not wish to be named said he lost thousands of dollars. He said a friend had mortgaged his house and invested some of the money hoping to earn interest with Agape. Earlier, one investor screamed through the locked, glass doors to "stand up for your money."

    Construction worker Greg Corey also is voicing concern. He said he and relatives may have lost tens of thousands of dollars in life savings.

    US Postal Inspectors and FBI agents now are working with federal prosecutors to try to sort out what might have happened in this case.

    Calls to the firm for comment were not returned.

    On Friday, Suffolk County Police were called to the Agape office along Motor Parkway because some angry investors would not leave the building. According to one report, an investor even punched Cosmo, although a police spokesman said he cannot confirm such a claim.

    Agape said it specializes in short-term loans to builders, paying a high interest rate to those who invest.

    Investor Leon said he paid $600 to Agape for insurance on his investment, but now wonders whether any of his funds can be recovered.

    Spokesmen for the FBI, Postal Inspectors and US Attorneys office declined comment as the investigation continues.