A Wantagh financial broker convicted in a Ponzi scheme of spending millions on himself using investors money, was sentenced Wednesday to a 9-year prison term and ordered to pay back investors nearly $180 million.
U.S. District Court Judge Denis R. Hurley also sentenced Jason Keryc, 38, to three years of supervised release for his role in the scheme while working for a Hauppauge-based investment firm run by convicted scamster Nicholas Cosmo.
Federal prosecutors said while Keryc worked at Cosmo’s Agape World between 2005 and 2009, he helped convince investors their funds would be safe in short-term loans to businesses at interest rates of up to 80 percent.
Instead, most of the money paid commissions to representatives like Keryc and a co-defendant, as well as for Cosmo’s losing investments and supposed interest on loans to early investors.
Keryc pocketed nearly $9 million in the scheme and more than 3,800 investors incurred $179 million in losses, prosecutors said. Hurley ordered Keryc to repay investors the $179 million while in prison and after his release.
He faced up to 20 years in prison after his conviction in April 2015 on conspiracy and securities, mail and wire fraud.
In court Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone told Hurley that greed motivated Keryc, who chose to “lie directly to people’s faces.” Caffarone for a 25-year prison term as a deterrent to others.
“Every single contract was a lie,” Caffarone told the judge in a Central Islip federal courtroom.
Keryc’s attorney, John Carman, of Garden City, described Cosmo as a “world class con man” who duped his client.
In 2011, Cosmo was sentenced to 25 years in prison for masterminding the scheme.
Keryc pleaded for mercy from Hurley and told the judge “that I’m a good person that made a terrible mistake.”
After handing down the sentence, Hurley said of Keryc: “I think at his core . . . he’s definitely a redeemable individual.”
Victims of the scheme included middle-class Long Island residents including a retired police officer on a fixed income and a war veteran who invested his earnings from deployments, Caffarone said.
Federal prosecutors said Keryc and co-defendant Diane Kaylor, of Bethpage — also convicted in 2015 — knew Cosmo spent 21 months in federal prison for defrauding investors but they did not tell new investors.
In 2008, the pair “pried” money from investors even after Agape officials told them their pay and commission checks might bounce and the company had defaulted on 2007 short-term loans to commercial borrowers, prosecutors said.