A Long Islander banned from offering stocks conspired with two accomplices to bilk investors of $5 million for a “fuel cell” that never existed, federal officials Tuesday said in unsealing indictment charges.
George Doumanis, 58, of Rocky Point, and some of his family members took at least $570,000 to pay his mortgage and credit bills, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District, based in Manhattan, and the FBI.
He, along with Emanuel Pantelakis, 42, of Flushing, and Danny Pratte, 62, of Columbia, Missouri, were each arraigned on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, of securities fraud, of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and of wire fraud. Bail for each was set at $250,000 bond.
Doumanis pleaded not guilty, said his attorney, David Scott Smith of Garden City, who declined to comment on the specifics of the charges. “He intends to vigorously defend against the charges,” Smith said.
Pantelakis also pleaded not guilty and plans to “robustly” defend against the charges, said his attorney Kevin Keating of Garden City.
Pratte’s attorney in Missouri could not be immediately reached Tuesday night.
Between 2008 and 2014, federal officials said, the defendants “induced” investors to buy shares of their Terminus company with a phony and misleading paper trail — press releases, business plans, stock risk disclosures and purported contracts for fuel cell technology testing and development.
“In reality, all they were allegedly fueling was their own greed-inspired scheme to bilk investors and use the money to pay credit card bills, for a Mercedes-Benz, and a horse trainer,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release.
For example, one document given to investors touted an India-based company’s $3.5 billion order for 20,000 units when Terminus actually had no purchase agreement, according to the indictment.
The three men used more than 70 percent of the $5 million for their own purposes and to pay commissions for unregistered salespeople, federal prosecutors said.
Pratte, the chief executive officer of Terminus, got at least $990,000, while Pantelakis and some of his family members received at least $420,000 to pay credit card bills and his wife’s Mercedes-Benz, court papers said.
One salesperson, who was not named in the indictment, got at least $540,000, while the salesperson’s horse trainer got at least $132,000, the indictment charges.
Doumanis had been convicted in 2003 in Florida of conspiring to commit securities, wire and mail fraud, and was barred permanently by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from offering any penny stock and from associating with any securities broker or dealer, prosecutors said.