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Long IslandCrime

Agape World Ponzi scheme associate sentenced to 7 years

Anthony Ciccone, of Locust Valley, one of convicted

Anthony Ciccone, of Locust Valley, one of convicted swindler Nicholas Cosmo's associates, was arrested on April 25, 2012. Credit: James Carbone

An associate of Ponzi schemer Nicholas Cosmo has been sentenced to 7 years in prison, according to officials.

Anthony Ciccone of Locust Valley was also ordered to make restitution of $179 million and serve three years supervised release by U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley Friday in federal court in Central Islip, officials said. It is unlikely that Ciccone will be able to repay more than a tiny fraction of the ordered restitution because he has little money, a source said.

Ciccone had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in February 2015.

Ciccone’s attorney, Sanford Talkin of Manhattan, said Saturday that his client “accepted responsibility for what he did.” Talkin added that the government has seized between $6 million and $7 million of his client’s assets. Ciccone, as a broker for Cosmo, was initially accused of making a total of $10.7 million by federal prosecutors.

A bankruptcy expert hired by the courts has said that victims could expect to get back at most 10 cents on the dollar of their investment.

Christopher Caffarone, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, declined to comment.

Cosmo, the ringleader, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011 in the scheme that took in $405 million and cheated more than 4,000 investors out of $179 million before it collapsed, according to federal prosecutors.

Cosmo headed the scheme through two Hauppauge-based companies, Agape World and Agape Merchant Advance. Investors, many of them civil servants or blue-collar workers, were promised high returns on safe investments.

But in reality there were few investments, and much of the money was lost in trading in commodity futures or used to repay earlier investors, officials said.

Ciccone, who originally had been released on $1 million bond following his arrest in 2012, has been held in jail since 2014. He was accused then of concealing $1.6 million he had made in the scheme.

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