Broker turned fraudster
A former investment advisor and broker from Long Island, New York, is facing prison after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients.
the ex-broker defrauded two clients of more than $411,000 in 2019
Police arrested Apostolos Pitsironis last week in Dix Hills, New York. According to a statement on the Department of Justice website, the ex-broker defrauded two clients of $411,000 in 2019. He then used the money to pay his debts and expenses, which mainly included money he owed casinos in New Jersey.
The Department of Justice said the 52-year-old would appear before a judge via videoconference to face his charges on Wednesday afternoon. If found guilty of wire fraud, he faces up to 20 years in jail.
Funding an expensive habit
According to the criminal complaint unsealed last week, the offences occurred between May 2 2019 and June 11 2019. At the time, the defendant worked for Janney Montgomery Scott in Melville, New York. The firm fired him in June 2019 after an internal investigation.
The complaint describes the unnamed victims as “a married couple who live on Long Island.” Pitsironis allegedly transferred around $411,000 from one of the victims’ bank accounts into an account registered in his own name. He told Financial Services that the victim had authorized the 22 transfers, and falsely claimed that their spouse owned the second bank account. The ex-broker then dispersed the funds between other bank accounts he owned.
Pitsironis paid $55,502 of the stolen funds to two casinos in Atlantic City
During the period of the offences, the accused made three substantial payments to unnamed casinos. Pitsironis paid $55,502 of the stolen funds to two casinos in Atlantic City, and made an additional $2,000 payment to a casino in Florida. He also withdrew $4,900 from an ATM within one of the New Jersey casinos.
Other cases of fraud
In the US, there have been a number of cases in which fraudsters have used stolen cash to fund a gambling habit.
Las Vegas CEO Edwin Fujinaga committed $1.5bn worth of fraud in 2018. The MRI International executive convinced around 8,000 victims to invest funds into his company. The US Securities and Exchange Commission described it as “an extensive and egregious Ponzi scheme.” Fujinaga and two other MRI executives used the funds to subsidize their gambling habits and live lavish lifestyles. A judge sentenced the fraudster to 50 years in prison the following year.
In 2019, police arrested Sam A. Antar after he stole approximately $794,000 from investors in New Jersey and New York. He convinced his victims to make stock investments in on-the-rise companies, such as Uber, Lyft and Slack. The fraudster then used the funds to place nearly 42,000 online bets over the course of 14 weeks. He also made regular visits to Atlantic City casinos and paid off pre-existing gambling debts.