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Manhasset man indicted on charges of securities fraud in $1.8B scheme

The head of a $1.8 billion investment fund was arrested by FBI agents Thursday on charges of securities fraud, in which clients allegedly were paid back with their own money instead of from the firm’s supposedly successful financial investments, according to officials.

David Gentile, 54, of Manhasset and the founder, owner and chief executive of GPB Capital Holdings in Manhattan, was arrested in Boston on charges of securities and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy, officials said. He is scheduled for a removal hearing at the federal court there to the federal court in Brooklyn, where the case will be tried.

An attorney for Gentile could not be reached for comment

While victims of the scheme were from around the country, more than a hundred of the investors in parts of the scheme live in the Eastern District of New York, which includes Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, according to the indictment. Federal indictments do not usually name victims of financial crimes. The indictment does not state how much money the victims allegedly lost.

Also charged in the case were Jeffrey Lash, 51, of Naples, Florida, a former managing partner of GPB, and Jeffry Schneider, the owner and CEO of Ascendant Capitol based in Austin, Texas, according to the indictment in the case.

"As alleged, by paying investors from an undisclosed and improper source such as investor capital, the defendants repeatedly misled investors about the health and performance of their investments," Acting Eastern District United States Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement.

William Sweeney, the head of the New York office of the FBI, said: "The defendants misrepresented the holdings of GPB Capital through deceptive marketing practices, luring investors with promises of monthly distributions that would be covered by funds from the investments and not drawn from underlying investment capital … this was a lie. In truth, a significant portion of GPB’s distributions were paid directly from investor funds."

If convicted, the defendants could get up to 20 years in prison.

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