Two financial advisers who, authorities said, took “a page from Bernie Madoff’s playbook” are facing multiple felony charges after allegedly bilking more than $10 million from about 40 clients.
Matthew Eckstein, 48, of Syosset, and Kevin Brody, 54, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded not guilty Monday in Hempstead district court, their attorneys said.
The Nassau County district attorney’s office said while announcing the arrests Tuesday that each defendant faced two counts of grand larceny, a charge of scheme to defraud and two conspiracy counts. If found guilty, each could spend up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Eckstein’s arraignment followed his earlier arrest in June, when prosecutors accused him of stealing more than $5 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme that scammed at least 14 clients.
Prosecutors said they had since identified about two dozen more victims, leading them to rearrest Eckstein and link Brody to the alleged scheme.
“Taking a page from Bernie Madoff’s playbook, these defendants allegedly preyed on vulnerable victims and stole $10 million from 40 investors in an elaborate Ponzi scheme that included a bogus online portal showing fabricated investment growth,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
The duo owned a company known as Conmac Funding Corp., according to authorities, who said some victims believed they were investing in something like a certificate of deposit with a guaranteed interest rate. Other victims thought the money would be used to finance premium insurance loans, the district attorney’s office said.
But authorities said the defendants instead used the millions on other business enterprises, including failed burger joints, along with funding what state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday in a statement were “extravagant lifestyles.”
Eckstein’s attorney, Dennis Lemke, said Tuesday that the merits of the case would be fought in court.
“He vehemently denies the allegations and we’re looking forward to having him exonerated,” the Mineola lawyer added.
“We’ll just see where it takes us, whether they can prove if there was an intent to defraud or whether we can prove the intent at all times was to repay the investors,” said James Druker, Brody’s Garden City attorney.
Both defendants are free on $75,000 bond.