MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Huntington man was arraigned today for allegedly stealing $45,450 from a former friend in an investment scheme.
Craig Stone, 64, was arraigned before Judge Karen Moroney on charges of grand larceny in the third degree (a D felony). The defendant was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on November 9. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of two-and-a-third to seven years in prison.
“This defendant allegedly scammed a recently widowed woman out of more than $45,000 that she had earmarked for her daughters’ education with a bogus investment scheme promising high returns at no risk,” DA Singas said. “Con artists who prey on the vulnerable are especially despicable and we will do all that we can to seek justice for this victim and her family.”
DA Singas said between 2013 and 2015, the victim allegedly gave Stone, a former family friend, $45,450.00 to invest in “real estate vehicles” with a guaranteed return of 10 to 11 percent. At first, the recently widowed victim resisted the defendant’s proposal, but after the defendant kept promising a higher return rate, she eventually signed an investment agreement with the defendant in May of 2013.
At the urging of Stone, the victim invested 16 times over the two years in small increments, signing a subsequent agreement each time. Each agreement provided that the annualized return was 10%, except for one that she was promised an 11% return. She made her last payment on September 23, 2015, making her total investment approximately $45,450.00.
However, when the victim requested her money back in early 2016, he failed to respond to her emails or repay her under the agreement's terms. The victim had planned to use the investment return on college tuition for her two daughters.
The defendant, who is not a licensed investment advisor, allegedly spent the money on utilities, medical expenses and made several cash withdrawals.
The NCDA urges anyone to contact FINRA at brokercheck.finra.org or (800) 289-9999 before investing any money to ensure you are hiring a licensed professional.
Senior Investigative Counsel April Montgomery of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting this case. Daniel Schneider, Esq. represents the defendant.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.