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Appeals court affirms Nicholas Cosmo's sentence

Nicholas Cosmo leaves federal court in Central Islip

Nicholas Cosmo leaves federal court in Central Islip on Wednesday. (Oct. 7, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

A federal appeals court has rejected a plea from swindler Nicholas Cosmo of Lake Grove that his 25-year prison sentence was excessive.

The unanimous ruling Thursday by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentence imposed a year ago by U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley in Central Islip.

Citing "the magnitude of Cosmo's crimes," the appeals court held that the sentence imposed for wire fraud and mail fraud "was not an abuse of discretion."

"The [trial] court in imposing sentence on this plea was considering a multiyear Ponzi scheme undertaken by a recidivist offender," the decision said. "The fraud took in thousands of middle- and lower-income investors, many of whom lost pensions, college funds and homes; others simply became destitute."

The panel noted that Hurley advised Cosmo before he entered his guilty pleas that he faced up to 40 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Cosmo, 41, operated his $405 million scheme out of two Hauppauge-based companies, Agape World and Agape Merchant Advance, bilking more than 4,000 people, many of them on Long Island.

Cosmo's appeals lawyer, Bruce R. Bryan of Syracuse, could not be reached for comment.

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