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FBI: 2 arrested in NY in $100 million Ponzi scheme

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.  — A New York investment fund manager and his brother-in-law, a real estate developer, were arrested today on charges they ran a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that siphoned investors’ money in order to finance the men’s interest in an eastern Long Island resort, prosecutors said.

Among the bilked investors was an unnamed volunteer fire department on Long Island, which lost $600,000, court papers said.

Brian R. Callahan, 43, and Adam J. Manson, were arrested today at their homes, according to an FBI spokeswoman. The men were charged in a 24-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip with wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. They were scheduled to be arraigned later today. Their attorneys’ names were not immediately available.

Callahan, Manson and Callahan’s wife, Sheri Manson Callahan, were named in a 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission complaint related to the same scheme. Sheri Manson Callahan was not named in the federal criminal indictment unsealed today.

Callahan raised more than $118 million from at least 40 investors between 2006 and 2012, federal prosecutors say. Despite assuring the investors the money would be invested in mutual funds, hedge funds and other securities, Callahan “siphoned off” about $96 million, prosecutors said.

Some of the money was used to purchase the Panoramic View, described in court papers as “an unprofitable 117-unit beachfront resort and residence development in Montauk, N.Y.” The resort, on the far eastern tip of Long Island, is co-owned by Manson, who is accused of lying to an auditor looking into Callahan’s investment funds, allegedly providing fake documents, bogus promissory notes and doctored balance sheets.

Callahan is also accused of using some proceeds from the alleged scheme to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat by making partial payments to early investors. He also purchased luxury items, including expensive cars and homes in Old Westbury and Westhampton, N.Y., prosecutors said.

He also allegedly sent fake account statements to investors claiming their investments were performing well.

If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of 20 years and a millions of dollars in fines. Prosecutors also said they intend to commence forfeiture proceedings on the Panoramic View resort, as well as Callahan’s Old Westbury residence and Manson’s beachfront condominium in Westhampton.

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