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Feds: Jericho man convicted of stealing $5.5M from Korean school

A Jericho man who promised to secure financing for a Christian missionary school in South Korea has been convicted on federal charges that he used money from the school on luxury cars and a 110-day gambling spree in Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

William Cosme, 51, faces fines and up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced June 21 by Judge Loretta A. Preska in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

A jury convicted him Tuesday on charges of aggravated identify theft and wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Cosme promised in 2011 to lend the school about $55 million to finance its expansion plans, and got the school to give him an equity deposit of about $5.5 million he supposedly would invest on its behalf.

Cosme did not invest the money. He transferred it from his corporate account to other accounts and to his personal account, then tapped those accounts to buy a $134,000 Lamborghini, a $287,000 Ferrari and other vehicles, and to pay his girlfriend’s rent, according to the office of Manhattan acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.

The school’s money also went to fund more than $200,000 in gambling losses in Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

When school officials pressed for payment, Cosme tried to convince them that he could keep the money because they had defaulted on the agreement, according to prosecutors.

On the day he was arrested in 2012, federal agents seized several of his assets, including a Cadillac parked in his driveway, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari in his garage and a bag containing more than $634,000, court records show.

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