The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Gregory Altieri, of Melville, New York, for operating a fraudulent Ponzi-like scheme that defrauded current and retired police officers and firefighters, among others, and misappropriating investor funds.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least 2017 through early 2020, Altieri, through LNA Associates, an entity he owned and controlled, raised over $69 million from at least 80 investors by falsely claiming that the investments would be used to acquire jewelry for a business operated by LNA. Altieri allegedly guaranteed investors that they would quickly receive a return on their investment ranging from approximately 30% of their initial investment to, in some instances, over 100%. However, as the complaint alleges, Altieri used the vast majority of the funds to perpetuate and conceal his fraudulent scheme, using funds from new investors to pay earlier investors their anticipated returns. The complaint further alleges that Altieri also misappropriated at least $3.8 million in investor funds.
“As alleged in the complaint, Altieri defrauded current and former first responders and other investors who thought they were making safe investments,” said Richard R. Best, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “We will continue to diligently pursue those who prey on investors and abuse their trust.”
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has issued investor alerts on avoiding investment frauds; and Ponzi scheme red flags. Additional information is available on Investor.gov and SEC.gov. The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court for the Eastern District of New York, charges Altieri with violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
On Dec. 30, 2020, Altieri entered a guilty plea for related conduct before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Elizabeth Butler, Jacqueline A. Fine, and Thomas P. Smith, Jr., and supervised by Lara S. Mehraban. The litigation will be handled by Pascale Guerrier and Ms. Butler. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.