Home New York Press Releases 2012 Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Long Island Man with Defrauding Korean School of More Than $2 Million

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Long Island Man with Defrauding Korean School of More Than $2 Million

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 19, 2012
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced the arrest of William Cosme, who is charged with defrauding a South Korean school of over $2 million. Cosme was arrested by the FBI yesterday morning at his residence in Jericho, New York, and was presented in Manhattan federal court yesterday evening.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “As alleged, William Cosme reached across the globe to scam an unsuspecting international school out of millions of dollars he used to underwrite his expensive lifestyle, including luxury cars and jaunts to Las Vegas. His lifestyle will now play out within the criminal justice system, and his cars and other assets will be preserved to make the victims whole should the charges be proved.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos stated, “As alleged, Cosme swindled a school out of millions of dollars. Under the guise of investing their money, he ‘invested’ in fast cars and Vegas vacations for himself, playing fast and loose with the school’s money. The FBI is determined to protect the public from con men, wherever they operate.”

According to the allegations contained in the complaint unsealed yesterday and statements made in court:

Cosme purported to operate a company known as Cosmo Dabi International Trading Group Inc. (Cosmo Dabi), which he represented as “Privately Held, Global, Private Equity family practice” concentrating on private wealth management, commercial real estate, gold trading, and business consulting. Cosme further claimed that Cosmo Dabi managed family assets valued at over $11 billion.

In January 2011, Cosme, acting through Cosmo Dabi, entered into an agreement with an international school located in South Korea (the “international school”) whereby Cosmo Dabi would lend the international school approximately $55 million once it gave Cosmo Dabi a deposit of approximately $5.5 million (the “equity deposit”), which Cosme said he would invest in order to generate funds to loan the international school. The international school planned to use the proceeds of the loan to expand its operations in South Korea.

The international school subsequently wired approximately $5.5 million to a bank account maintained by Cosme. Rather than investing the money, however, Cosme stole over $2 million of the funds, using the money to buy multiple cars including a Lamborghini worth nearly $314,000, to pay for trips to Las Vegas, and to fund a lavish lifestyle. Further, in connection with his arrest, the FBI seized three luxury cars, which were purchased with funds that Cosme received from the international school. The FBI also seized approximately $629,000 in cash.

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Cosme, 46, is charged with one count of wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a maximum term of three years of supervised release, and a fine of the greatest of $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense or twice the gross pecuniary loss to the victim.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of FBI in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel W. Levy is in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin S. Bell is in charge of the asset forfeiture related to the prosecution.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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