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SEC says Long Island man, firm defrauded more than 100 investors

A view of the Securities and Exchange Commission

A view of the Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters on May 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

A Long Island man and his company agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle charges that they used “high-pressure sales tactices to pilfer $6 million from retirees and other investors,” the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday.

Leonard Vincent Lombardo, 42, of Melville, defrauded more than 100 investors, the SEC said in its complaint, by falsely saying their money would be invested in distressed real estate.

Lombardo and his Ronkonkoma-based company, The Leonard Vincent Group, invested only a fraction of the money in real estate and used the rest to support an e-cigarettes business and for personal expenses including payments on luxury cars and marina fees, the agency said.

In June, Lombardo pleaded guilty in a parallel criminal case related to the investment fraud brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District. “This is another case involving a fraudster trying to look the part of a wealthy financial advisor while doing nothing more than trying to separate people from their hard-earned money,” Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York regional office, said.

Lombardo previously worked at Stratton Oakmont Inc., according to the SEC, the Lake Success brokerage firm made infamous in the Martin Scorsese movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Ephraim Savitt, Lombardo’s attorney, said his client, who is free on bond, is working out a payment schedule with federal authorities.

“He’s facing jail time, but he’s determined to make repayments to the people who made investments with him,” Savitt said.

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