John Quadrino of Oceanside leaves federal court in Central Islip.

John Quadrino of Oceanside leaves federal court in Central Islip. Credit: James Carbone

An Oceanside man who pleaded guilty to operating  a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $3.3 million was sentenced to 41 months in prison Thursday by a federal judge in Central Islip. 

Prosecutors said John Quadrino, 57, told investors that he would use their money to purchase gold and jewelry that would then be sold to refineries and jewelers. Quadrino promised the investors that they would receive a guaranteed return for their investments over a period of time, prosecutors said. 

Quadrino never purchased the gold and jewelry, prosecutors said. Instead, he used the funds to perpetuate the Ponzi scheme for five years, pay himself and cover gambling debts. U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack ordered Quadrino to surrender to federal prisons authorities no later than July 26. 

Quadrino apologized to everybody he had hurt by his actions and said he intended to establish the business, and that he kept compounding his mistakes by making additional mistakes.

“I didn’t intend to deceive anyone,” he said. 

Wilma Larkin, 83, of Oceanside, said she wasn’t buying Quadrino’s claims of remorse. She told Azrack before sentencing that Quadrino had persuaded her husband to invest in the scheme and intended to keep his money even though he was a longtime family friend who attended school with her son. 

“He is a cheat, he is a lowlife, and he hurt a lot of people,” Larkin said while her daughter sobbed in the back of the courtroom. 

Quadrino’s family also attended the sentencing. 

Defense attorney Robert LaRusso asked Azrack to sentence Quadrino to home detention. He said his client suffers from a serious heart condition and won’t get the medical attention he needs in a federal prison. LaRusso also said Quadrino has turned his life around. 

“He wants the court to know he has changed his life,” LaRusso said. “This will not happen again.” 

Quadrino pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in April 2018.

“The defendant blatantly stole the money of hardworking men and women in our community for the sole purpose of enriching himself until his Ponzi scheme collapsed under the weight of his lies,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Breon Peace said. “Today’s prison sentence punishes the defendant for the financial ruin he has inflicted on investors who had trusted him.”

 Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly said Quadrino's prison sentence ensures the defendant won't be around to victimize people.

“Dozens of investors handed over their savings to this defendant based on empty promises, and in the end, he personally spent and gambled away millions of dollars of their hard-earned money,” Donnelly said. 

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