From the Forum West:
Almost one month after the arrest of alleged Long Island con artist Nicholas Cosmo on federal mail fraud charges, local residents who invested in Agape World, Inc. are left wondering where their money went and if they will ever recover any of it.
While Cosmo’s business – which federal authorities say was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that cheated 1,500 people out of about $370 million – was based on Long Island, it also had an office on Grand Avenue in Maspeth. That’s where many Queens residents went to invest their money in hopes of cashing on large returns.
Cosmo was arrested on January 26 following a FBI investigation, which culminated in raids of Agape’s Hauppauge, Jackson Heights and Maspeth offices. The company had promised investors the chance to cash in returns from bridge loans Agape provided to other individuals and companies. Instead, authorities say that just $10 million of $370 million provided by investors was ever loaned out. The rest is believed to have been squandered by Cosmo, who is being held in federal custody.
As the case slowly moves forward, hundreds of local investors have begun banding together in an effort to recover any of the lost money. “We have two objectives – to get information so that we feel connected to the process, and secondly to give each other hope,” said Dom DiColandrea of West Babylon, who has helped mobilize a group of victims and posts updates on a victim’s blog, agapeworldincvictims.blogspot.com.