A Syosset man who prosecutors said swindled more than 200 people out of some $19 million in a Ponzi scheme was sentenced Friday to 10 years and four months in prison — more than five years under the maximum.
U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt gave no specific reason for imposing the lower sentence on Eric Aronson, 48, in federal court in Central Islip.
Spatt said, on the one hand, that Aronson lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 13, had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, was abused by one of his therapists when he was young, has had a heart attack, and suffers from thrombosis and kidney problems.
On the other hand, the judge said, Aronson has never made the promised restitution of almost $3 million for a similar scheme in Manhattan a decade ago, violated his bail conditions in the current case, and was in illegal possession of a 12-gauge shotgun when he was arrested on the bail warrant.
The judge had at first hinted that he would impose a sentence on the more severe end of the federal sentencing guidelines — which called for between 12 years and seven months and 15 years and eight months — noting that Aronson started the most recent financial scheme shortly after being released from his 40-month sentence on the Manhattan case.
“He had a chance,” the judge said.
Aronson pleaded guilty to securities fraud two years ago in the current case.
After his release on the earlier case, he founded Permapave Industries and Permapave USA Corp. out of offices in Jericho and Syosset.
Investors were promised returns of as much as 400 percent for buying promissory notes that supposedly paid for the importation of stones through which water could seep into the ground.
Actually, prosecutors said, Aronson was running a Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors were paid off with money from later investors. The judge said Aronson spent about $2 million of investors’ money on vacations, watches, jewelry and cars.
Spatt noted that Aronson had agreed as part of a plea deal that he would not appeal his sentence as long as it was less than 14 years.
He has been in custody on the current case for three years and 10 months so he will be eligible for release in six years and six months.
The judge agreed to a request from defense attorney Anthony LaPinta of Hauppauge that he recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that Aronson be sent to the federal facility in Danbury, Connecticut, so that he can be near his family.