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Smithtown man admits to stealing $3.1M in retirement savings

A Smithtown man who authorities said created a false persona, misrepresenting his job, his background and even his investment expertise to bilk victims out of millions of dollars, pleaded guilty to felony fraud charges Friday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Alexander Swanson, 48, pleaded guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the three counts in the $3.1-million wire fraud scheme authorities said was designed "to steal retirement savings from individuals in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere."

Swanson pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Brown. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch, in the Eastern District, said Swanson "admitted that he constructed a false persona, lying about his job, background, and investment expertise, all for the purpose of bilking unsuspecting individuals out of their hard earned retirement savings. Promising them secure investments, he instead provided fraudulent reports that lured them deeper into his web of lies and deceit."

Authorities said that Swanson "stole and squandered" much of the money he stole, even gambling away the funds on sporting events.

The case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, officials said. That interagency task force was established in an effort to wage "an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes," authorities said.

FBI assistant director-in-charge, George C. Venizelos, whose agency also was involved in the investigation, said Swanson "preyed upon a particularly vulnerable class of victims," targeting retirees "who parted with portions of their savings."

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