A barred investment broker from Long Island and his business partner are facing charges for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors who thought they were getting in on the ground floor of major upcoming companies.
Glen Cove resident Peter Quartararo, the barred broker, and his partner, Paul Casella, of East Meadow, were arraigned on Tuesday, April 27 for allegedly stealing $436,000 from four investors to live a life of luxury, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that the investors believed they were investing in pre-initial public offering stock for several high-profile companies, including Peloton, WeWork, and Airbnb, but instead their money was being allegedly stolen.
It is alleged that beginning in July 2019, Quartararo met with four investors, stating that he had access to pre-initial public offering stock of those companies for approximately $2 a share. Quartararo advised his victims that when the companies went public, he would sell the shares and give them the profits.
Singas said that each investor gave Quartararo between $72,000 and $200,000 in checks with the understanding that the funds would be used to purchase the pre-IPO shares.
Instead, the investigation determined that neither Quartararo nor Casella ever purchased any shares of stock in the pre-IPO companies represented on the victims’ behalf, and instead, their checks were deposited into accounts controlled by Leonard Quartararo, Quartararo’s father, and Casella, Quartararo’s business partner.
According to Singas, those funds were then allegedly used by the Quartararo and Casella to purchase food, travel, and vehicles, including a 2020 Mercedes Benz SUV and as the down payment on Quartararo’s Maserati.
Several large cash withdrawals were also made by Leonard Quartararo.
Singas noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that no shares of IPO stock in Peloton, WeWork, or Airbnb were ever purchased by Quartararo or Casella.
“These defendants allegedly conned investors to give them hundreds of thousands of dollars promising high returns from prominent companies, but instead they pocketed the funds to support their lavish lifestyles,” Singas said.
“Investment frauds cost innocent Americans billions of dollars each year and I encourage every investor to verify the credentials and licenses of any financial professional they work with and to report any suspicious activity to my office.”
Quartararo, age 56, who was barred from operating as a stockbroker in March 2013, was charged with five counts of second-degree grand larceny, and one count each of third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree conspiracy, and scheme to defraud.
Casella, age 54, was charged with two counts of second-degree grand larceny and one out of fourth-degree conspiracy.
If convicted, both men face a maximum term of between five and 15 years in prison. They were arraigned on April 27 and released. No return court date has been announced.
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