Steven Pagartanis of East Setauket, 58, was arraigned in Suffolk County District Court.
Central Islip, NY - May 31, 2018 - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the arrest of an East Setauket man for allegedly stealing approximately $7.5 million from elderly clients in a Ponzi scheme.
“The defendant described to victims a great investment they could make by trusting him with their hard-earned money,” District Attorney Sini said. “In some cases, victims gave the defendant their life savings. The defendant then used those monies to pay off earlier investors in his scheme and to fund his personal lifestyle.”
Steven Pagartanis, 58, was arraigned in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip today on two counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a B felony, and two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a C felony. Pagartanis was released following the arraignment on supervised release with GPS monitoring.
Pagartanis worked as a financial planner and is the owner of Omega Planning Associates, a financial planning business located in Setauket. He allegedly told victims he was investing their money in Genesis Land Development Corp., a building and land development company based in Calgary, Canada.
Pagartanis then allegedly deposited the funds into an account called “Genesis Holding” and used the money to pay back prior investors in the scheme. The defendant also allegedly used some of the money on personal expenses, including retail purchases and dining.
“We’ve identified well over a dozen victims and we believe there are more victims out there,” District Attorney Sini said. “We are asking the public: If you invested money with this defendant or if you have any information about this defendant, please call the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at 631-853-5602.”
The four victims included in the felony complaints, who range in age from 64 to 83 years old, began investing in the scheme as early as 2013. The case was brought to the attention of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office by a family member of one of the victims.
“This particular defendant preyed on the elderly; he targeted those who he perceived to be vulnerable,” District Attorney Sini said. “For those individuals who take care of their parents or grandparents, it’s important to remain vigilant to ensure that our senior citizens are not being taken advantage of.”
Pursuant to a concurrent investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Pagartanis was barred from acting as a securities broker on April 10, 2018. In addition to the criminal charges, a civil lawsuit was filed against Pagartanis today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
If convicted, Pagartanis faces a maximum indeterminate sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison on each count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and a maximum indeterminate sentence of five to 15 years in prison on each count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.
Pagartanis is due back in court on July 24. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Donna Planty, of the Economic & Cyber Crime Bureau.
A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.