A Great Neck man, who falsely claimed he was a partner of television financial commentator Jim Cramer, was sentenced to 57 months in prison Thursday for cheating victims nationwide out of $2.2 million by claiming he was buying rare metals such as palladium for them as long-term investments, officials said.
Amner Borukhov, 34, was also ordered to repay the almost 70 investors in the scheme, serve three years of supervised release, and was barred from ever working in the investment or financial services industry by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein in federal court in Central Islip.
Borukhov operated a supposed precious metals investment company in Great Neck, Gold Bullion Enterprises, that had no relationship with Cramer, and did not purchase any precious metal, Eastern District federal prosecutor Christopher Caffarone said in court papers and in court. From 2009 to 2011, instead of purchasing metals, Borukhov lived luxuriously on the investors' money, the prosecutor said. Palladium is most commonly used in catalytic converters in automobiles.
Borukhov would call potential targets, representing himself as Cramer's partner, prosecutors said. Cramer, a former stockbroker and Wall Street commentator, is the host of CNBC's show "Mad Money."
Before he was sentenced, Borukhov said, "I'd like . . . to acknowledge that what I did was wrong and I'd like to apologize to the court . . . to all the clients that were involved."
Afterward his attorney, Jacob Laufer, of Manhattan, said of his client, "He is on his way to being rehabilitated, and hopefully he will have a good life." Caffarone declined to comment.
In 2011, when Borukhov found that the FBI was investigating his operation, he fled to Morocco, because it did not have an extradition treaty with the United States, Caffarone said.
However, Moroccan authorities eventually arrested Borukhov, based on a request by the United States, after he applied for a permit to open a business in that country, according to officials.
Borukhov was extradited to the United States earlier this year after he spent 8 months in a Moroccan prison, officials said.
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in a statement thanked Moroccan authorities for their help in the case.
Borukhov's younger brother Markiel, 30, of Brooklyn, who had a lesser role in the scheme, was sentenced to 24 months in prison in March, according to court records.