A Long Island businessman who admitted to fraud and other charges in a $40 million collectible coins investment scam has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Joseph Romano, 49, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. Romano pleaded guilty in September 2010 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Romano and others defrauded more than 1,500 victims over eight years. He was accused of selling coins to investors, claiming they were of a higher quality grade than they actually were. He also told victims the coins were more valuable when purchased as a set.
Romano repeatedly changed the name of the company, moved the location of the coin boiler room and changed the company phone number to escape detection by law enforcement and his victims, said prosecutors.
The operation was variously known as Last Quarter Coin, Inc., American Coin Company, Inc., and All American Coin Company Inc.
According to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, several of the mostly elderly victims said they lost all their family's savings.