Associates of convicted swindler charged in LI Ponzi scheme

Three major associates of Nicholas Cosmo, above, the Three major associates of Nicholas Cosmo, above, the mastermind of a $400 million Ponzi scheme, were arraigned on an indictment Jan. 8, 2014, charging them with conspiracy and other charges. (Jan. 26, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

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Three major associates of Nicholas Cosmo, the mastermind of a $400 million Ponzi scheme, were arraigned on an indictment Wednesday charging them with conspiracy, as well as mail, wire and securities fraud, officials said.

The three -- Jason Keryc, 34, of Wantagh; Anthony Ciccone, 39, of Locust Valley; and Diane Kaylor, 36, of Bethpage -- all pleaded not guilty at arraignment in federal District Court in Central Islip, officials said.

Keryc, Ciccone and Kaylor had originally been arrested in April of 2012 on similar charges.

Magistrate A. Kathleen Tomlinson continued the $1 million bail they had each originally posted after their arrests.

The three had been charged in the indictment along with two other close associates of Cosmo -- Bryan Arias, 40, of Maspeth, and Shamika Luciano, 31, of Coram -- when Arias and Luciano were arrested in December. The new indictment added securities fraud to the original charges.

Arias and Luciano each were released on $500,000 bail shortly after their arrests.

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Cosmo, who is serving a 25-year sentence for fraud, took in more than $400 million dollars from 5,000 investors during the operation of the scheme out of his Hauppauge-based companies, Agape World and Agape Merchant Advance, officials have said.

Of that total, 4,100 investors lost $179 million from 2003 until 2009 when the scheme was shut down, officials have said. Much of the rest of the money Cosmo took in went to pay off early investors with Agape.

Working with Cosmo, of Lake Grove, Keryc allegedly made $16 million, Ciccone $10.7 million; Kaylor $4.7 million; Arias $1.7 million; and Luciano $275,000, according to court papers filed by Eastern District federal prosecutors Grace Cucchissi and Christopher Caffarone.

A bankruptcy expert hired by the courts and federal officials have been able to locate about $10 million remaining of the money investors placed with Cosmo, according to officials. The bankruptcy expert, Kenneth Silverman, a Jericho lawyer, has said victims of the scheme will probably get back at most 10 cents on the dollars they placed with Cosmo and his associates.

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