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'Mini-Madoff' Accused of $400M Ponzi Scheme SurrendersHICKSVILLE, New York — The FBI says the owner of a Long Island investment firm has turned himself in to face accusations he cheated clients out of more than $100 million.
FBI spokesman Jim Margolin says Nicholas Cosmo surrendered 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 pyramid 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.
Cosmo is expected to appear in court Tuesday.
Defense attorneys at the Herrick Feinstein law firm haven't returned telephone calls seeking comment.
Friday, January 23, 2009
That was nearly a half-century ago. Today, investors with Madoff's firm are drowning after the former Nasdaq chairman admitted fleecing his customers of $50 billion.
Madoff, 70, was known as a quirky figure inside his company offices at Manhattan's Lipstick Building. Still, he was respected for his uncanny - and apparently illegal - ability to generate cash for his clients.
The Hennessee Group, which tracks investment performance, says Madoff's firm suffered just five down months in 13 years between 1993-2007.
"He was God to people," said Charles Gradante, one of Hennessee's co-founders.
The self-made Wall Street heavyweight recruited many of his clients at New York and Florida country clubs, including the Palm Beach Country Club.
The school announced Friday Madoff had cut all ties with Yeshiva, resigning as a member of its board of trustees.
While other brokerage firms were bought out by larger operations, Madoff Investment Securities LLC remained a family business - right to the end.
His sons, Andrew and Mark, turned Madoff in Wednesday night after the father confessed his economic sins, said Martin Flumbenbaum, the brothers' lawyer.
Oh, and yeah, I personally lost money to Bernie.