Suspected Ponzi Schemer Surrenders to FBI

FBI says Cosmo may have cheated clients out of $100 million

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009  |  Updated 7:44 AM EDT
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Cosmo Turns Himself In

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Nicholas Cosmo, third from left, turned himself into authorities Monday night.

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Cosmo Turns Himself In

A man accused in what investigators think might be another Ponzi scheme turned himself in Monday night.
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The owner of a Long Island investment firm accused of cheating people out of more than $100 million is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin says Nicholas Cosmo surrendered at a U.S. Postal Inspection Service office in Hicksville on Monday night.

Cosmo runs Agape World Inc. in Hauppauge. He's accused of taking in $300 million from investors and cheating them out of about $140 million.
    
A letter hanging in Cosmo's office window denies there was any Ponzi scheme, the type of fraud Bernard Madoff is accused of committing. A Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme promises unusually high returns and pays early investors with money from later investors.

"Right now, I think I've been scammed,"' Richard Bennett, 55, a Valley Stream real estate investor who invested $30,000 with Agape World, told Newsday.

Unlike Bernard Madoff, who is accused of bilking wealthy individuals and nonprofits, Agape World investors are more ``blue collar and they invested their life savings,'' Michael Kessley, a forensic accountant hired last year to investigate the firm, told Newsday.

Defense attorneys at the Herrick Feinstein law firm haven't returned telephone calls seeking comment.

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