Former Agape World, Inc. President and Owner Pleads Guilty to Mail and Wire Fraud in Ponzi Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 29, 2010|
Earlier today, Nicholas Cosmo, the former president and owner of Agape World, Inc. (“Agape”) and Agape Merchant Advance, LLC (“AMA”), pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and wire fraud charges for his role in running a Ponzi scheme that resulted in losses in excess of $195 million dollars. The guilty plea proceeding was held before United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley, at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York. When sentenced, Cosmo faces a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment.
The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Peter Zegarac, Inspector-in-Charge, New York Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
Between October 2003 to January 2009, Cosmo executed a scheme to defraud investors of Agape by representing that their money would be used to fund short-term bridge loans to commercial borrowers and loans to other businesses, specifically, commercial business entities that accepted credit cards. He promised the investors unusually high rates of return. Initially, Cosmo paid partial returns to early investors, which were falsely represented to be profits generated from loans, and thereafter persuaded those investors and new victims to invest additional funds in the two companies. In fact, Cosmo lost in excess of $100 million of investor money through unauthorized futures and commodities trading activity and other unauthorized activity. As a result, the government estimates that approximately 3,000 victims suffered losses totaling in excess of $195 million.
“The defendant devised and orchestrated a scheme that highlights the need for vigilance and vigorous enforcement of our laws to prevent this kind criminal activity in the future,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agencies that led the government’s investigation.
As part of his guilty plea agreement with the government, Cosmo agreed to forfeit his right in assets seized by the government and to the entry of a restitution order of no less than $195 million to be paid to his victims.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Demetri M. Jones, Grace M. Cucchissi, and Vincent Lipari.