A former registered investment adviser and broker from Dix Hills was arrested by the FBI Wednesday on charges of cheating clients out of about $400,000 to pay off casino gambling debts, federal prosecutors say.
Apostolos Pitsironis, 52, was arraigned in federal court in Central Islip late Wednesday afternoon by telephone and video on a complaint charging him with wire fraud. Prosecutors said the defendant cheated a couple -- who were longtime clients of his Melville financial services firm -- out of $400,000, the complaint said.
Pitsironis was released on $200,000 bond by Magistrate Steven Locke pending future hearings. He was not required to enter a plea.
Neither the allegedly victimized couple nor the Melville financial services firm Pitsironis worked for were identified in the complaint.
Pitsironis, who managed the couple’s assets for about 10 years, also used his clients' money to pay off a credit card bill, a car loan, a landscaping company, and for a cash withdrawal from an ATM machine, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, in December 2018, Pitsironis initally asked the couple to give him a $200,000 personal loan. The couple declined, the complaint added.
Then starting in May 2019, Pitsironis began transferring money from one of the victims' accounts to Pitsironis’ personal bank accounts, the complaint said.
In all, there were 22 transfers totaling $411,000, the complaint said. Pitsironis told the financial services firm that one of the victims had authorized the transfer.
Between May and June of 2019, Pitsironis used the money in his own bank accounts to pay off debts at three unnamed casinos, including two in New Jersey and one in South Florida, the complaint said.
The complaint said one in New Jersey got $40,502; the second New Jersey casino $15,000, and the South Florida casino, $2,000.
In addition, the complaint said Pitsironis used the bank accounts to withdraw $4,900 from an ATM at the first New Jersey casino and pay a $38,800 credit card debt, a $2,054 automobile loan and a $1,712 landscaping bill.
In a statement, Acting Eastern District United States Attorney Seth DuCharme said: "As alleged, the defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors to pay his personal debts, violating the trust they had placed in him to manage their money safely and honestly …. This Office is committed to protecting the investing public from corrupt financial advisors like the defendant who put greed before their clients’ best interests."