A Glen Cove man barred from operating as a stockbroker was arraigned Thursday on charges he stole $520,000 from people who believed he was using their cash to invest in pre-initial public offering stock for several high-profile companies, the Nassau County District Attorney's office said.

Peter Quartararo, 57, allegedly used the money instead to buy food, travel, a 2020 Mercedes-Benz SUV and pay a down payment on a Maserati automobile. Several large cash withdrawals were also made from a bank account of Leonard Quartararo, Peter’s father, prosecutors said in a news release said. 

Peter Quartararo was charged with five counts of grand larceny in the second degree, a C felony; one count of grand larceny in the third degree, a D felony; and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree, an E felony.

“Investing in the stock market always comes with risk, but investors should never have to worry that the financial professionals they are trusting with their money will steal from them,” Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly said.

Quartararo was barred from operating as a stockbroker in March 2013 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the news release said.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on April 3. If convicted on the top count, the maximum sentence is 15 years in prison. 

Quartararo’s Hauppauge-based attorney, Gerard Donnelly could not be reached for comment.

According to prosecutors, from July 2018 to January of 2021, Quartararo told the six victims he had access to pre-initial public offering stock in Peloton, WeWork, Airbnb and Petco for about $2 a share. Quartararo told them that when the companies later went public, he would sell the shares and give the profits to them, less capital gains taxes, the news release said. 

Each victim gave Quartararo between $14,000 and $202,000 in checks and cash. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which referred the case to the district attorney's office, confirmed that no shares of IPO stock from those companies were ever purchased by Quartararo.   

Instead, the investigation revealed the victims’ money was deposited into accounts controlled by Leonard Quartararo, Paul Casella (Peter Quartararo’s business partner), who were later prosecuted, and another uncharged individual, authorities said.

Quartararo was arrested by Nassau County District Attorney Detective Investigators in April 2021 and rearrested in August 2021 on additional charges, the release said.

Casella, 56, of East Meadow, pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation in the fourth degree on Dec. 14, 2022, and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Leonard Quartararo, 80, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation in the fourth degree on July 22, 2021, and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

If you believe you were the victim of an investment fraud perpetrated by any of the defendants, prosecutors ask you contact the Nassau County DA’s Office Financial Crimes Bureau at 516-571-2149.

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