The owner and manager of a New Jersey hedge fund was convicted by a federal jury for defrauding two investors of $4 million.
Nicholas Lattanzio, 61, of Montclair, was convicted on all counts of an indictment charging him with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of securities fraud following a three-week trial before the Honorable Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court.
According to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, court documents filed in the case and evidence at trial, from June 2013 through November 2014, Lattanzio orchestrated a large-scale scheme through which he, his hedge fund, the Black Diamond Capital Appreciation Fund L.P. (BD Fund), and several other related entities collected millions of dollars in upfront fees from two unsuspecting corporate investors in exchange for the promise of future loans or investment opportunities that did not materialize.
Instead of investing the victims’ money as promised, Lattanzio stole the majority of the funds and used them to pay himself more than $500,000 in salary and for numerous personal expenses, including the purchase of a $1 million home in Montclair, a new Range Rover, a diamond ring that cost $100,000, and the payment of half a million dollars in credit card debt that he incurred for other personal expenses.
Lattanzio lied to the victims about the status of their funds to conceal the scheme and mislead them into believing that their investments were safe.
The wire and securities fraud counts with which Lattanzio was convicted each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
The government also forfeited a 2013 BMW 650 and various pieces of jewelry, and is seeking forfeiture of his home in Montclair.
Carpenito credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s conviction. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of Marc P. Berger, and the N.J. Bureau of Securities, within the State Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas P. Grippo and Daniel V. Shapiro of the Economic Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Gaeta of the Office’s Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit.
Defense lawyers in the case were John D. Arseneault, and John J. Roberts of Chatham.
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