From U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys Office, Eastern District of New York. Original Press Release found here.
Defendant Defrauded Dozens of Elderly Investors of Over $13 Million
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Steven Pagartanis was sentenced by United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack to 170 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay more than $6.5 million in restitution. Pagartanis, a former registered investment advisor based on Long Island, pleaded guilty in December 2018 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for orchestrating a securities fraud scheme over the course of 18 years.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence is a well-deserved reckoning for Pagartanis, who preyed on elderly investors, many of whom trusted him with their life savings, for nearly two decades,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Protecting investors, especially those that are vulnerable, from white-collar criminals is a priority of this Office and the Department of Justice.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Regional Office, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for their cooperation and assistance during the investigation.
“Steven Pagartanis deceived investors from New York to California with the selfish goal of enriching himself at the expense of innocent elderly victims,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “We at IRS-CI welcome the opportunity to lend our financial expertise to uncover such callous criminality and protect the innocent from being swindled out of their life savings.”
From January 2000 to March 2018, Pagartanis, then an affiliate of a registered broker-dealer, solicited victims, almost all of whom were elderly women, to invest in two publicly traded companies, promising an eight percent return. At Pagartanis’s direction, the victims wrote checks payable to an entity he secretly controlled. Pagartanis then laundered the victims’ investments through a series of bank accounts, and used the money to pay personal expenses, purchase luxury items, fund failed business ventures including his wife’s pet store and make the guaranteed “interest” or “dividend” payments to other victims. The defendant’s victims invested over $13 million and sustained losses of over $9 million. Many lost substantial amounts of their life savings, including funds set aside to help ill family members, pay college expenses and maintain their homes.
Assistant United States Attorney Artie McConnell is in charge of the prosecution.
East Setauket, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-374 (JMA)