A key associate of convicted Ponzi swindler Nicholas Cosmo was jailed Friday by a federal magistrate, who said the associate's complicated efforts to conceal $1.7 million allegedly gained from the scheme was "mind-boggling."
The associate, Anthony Ciccone, 39, of Locust Valley had his bail revoked by Magistrate A. Kathleen Tomlinson in federal court in Central Islip after he was indicted on new charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering.
Ciccone and four other Cosmo associates have been charged with mail, wire and securities fraud at various times since 2012. All had pleaded not guilty and had been released on bail.
Ciccone had been out on $1 million bail.
But Eastern District federal prosecutors Christopher Caffarone and Grace Cucchissi argued Friday that Ciccone had engaged in a separate money-laundering scheme for five years. In that scheme, Ciccone initially overpaid by $1.7 million his federal and state income taxes for 2008 with money illegally made from the Ponzi swindle.
Filing the tax returns for 2008 late, Ciccone did not get the total of $1.7 million as refunds until 2012, the prosecutors argued in court papers.
Ciccone's efforts included having his wife and mother-in-law wash the refund money through various bank accounts in their names, court papers said. Ciccone then used the money for living expenses, to buy $350,000 in gold coins, and to pay for two Florida businesses, one specializing in franchises and one in luxury car rentals, the prosecutors said. It was unclear what the money paid to the businesses was for.
Each business was owned by a friend of Ciccone's who was a felon, the prosecutors said.
Associating with convicted felons in itself was a violation of Ciccone's bail conditions, the magistrate said in revoking bail.
All the while, Ciccone was lying to federal pretrial service officers supervising his release, saying that he had little money, the prosecutors said.
Ciccone pleaded not guilty to the new money laundering charges, as well as the old fraud charges all contained in a new superseding indictment before Tomlinson revoked his bail.
Ciccone's attorney, Richard Finkel of Manhattan, declined to comment afterward.
Cosmo was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011 for the Ponzi scheme that took in $405 million but cheated 4,100 investors out of a total of $179 million when it collapsed, according to authorities.
They have been able to locate only $10 million, meaning, authorities have said, that, at most, victims will get back 10 cents on the dollar.