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Long IslandCrime

Feds: Ponzi victims to get Panoramic View resort sale proceeds

Exterior of the Panoramic View Resort & Residences

Exterior of the Panoramic View Resort & Residences on Aug. 1, 2013. A federal judge has ordered the forfeiture of some $40 million in net proceeds from the sale of the Montauk resort for restitution to victims of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in Long Island history, officials said Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A federal judge has ordered the forfeiture of some $40 million in net proceeds from the sale of a Montauk beachfront resort as restitution to victims of what authorities previously described as among the largest Ponzi schemes in Long Island history, officials said Thursday.

Two major players in the $96 million fraud, Brian R. Callahan, 45, and his brother-in-law, Adam Manson, 43, both of Old Westbury, are tentatively scheduled to be sentenced in connection with the case on Jan. 29, authorities said.

Callahan, an investment adviser, pleaded guilty last year to securities and wire fraud and faces up to 24 years and 3 months in prison under the terms of his deal. Manson, a real estate developer, agreed to a deal earlier and faces up to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, federal officials said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the fraud was designed to keep the Panoramic View Resort & Residences, a 117-unit development in Montauk, afloat. As part of their agreements, Callahan and Manson each agreed to forfeit Panoramic View to make restitution to 40 victims.

Federal officials said Thursday the court-ordered $63.9 million sale of the property closed on Dec. 7 and approximately $40 million in net profits will be returned to victims. The timetable for those returns was not immediately clear Thursday.

Officials said last year Callahan siphoned money from investors to keep the property afloat, while Manson admitted lying to auditors tasked with checking the authenticity of Callahan’s funds. In April 2014, then-Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, now the U.S. attorney general, called the scheme “one of the largest investment frauds in Long Island history.”

The decree ordering the forfeiture from the recent sale was ordered by U.S. Judge Arthur D. Spatt.

In a statement Thursday, U.S. Attorney Robert Capers called the Montauk resort’s sale unprecedented and said it “exemplifies the importance of using civil forfeiture to ensure that assets will be available to repay fraud victims.”

Capers said the agreement also allowed officials to “maximize the pool of funds potentially available for distribution to victims of this fraud.”

The property was purchased for $38 million in January 2007, officials said, and to acquire the resort, Callahan diverted more than $12.1 million from investment funds he operated.

In addition, the company purchasing the property obtained a $35 million acquisition loan and a $10 million construction loan from a commercial lender, authorities said. Callahan then, diverted “at least $17 million” of investor funds to make payments on the acquisition loan between May 2008 and November 2011, authorities said. Subsequent deals diverted at least another $2.75 million for loan-related expenses, according to federal officials.

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