Former Investment Adviser Charged with Stealing Client Funds
Long Island Man Allegedly Stole More than $400,000 to Pay Gambling Debts and Credit Card Bills
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip charging Apostolos Pitsironis, a former registered investment advisor and broker, with defrauding his former clients of more than $400,000 that he used to pay his personal debts and expenses, including casino gambling debts and credit card bills. Pitsironis was arrested earlier today in Dix Hills, New York, and will make his initial appearance via videoconference this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charge.
“As alleged, the defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors to pay his personal debts, violating the trust they had placed in him to manage their money safely and honestly,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office is committed to protecting the investing public from corrupt financial advisors like the defendant who put greed before their clients’ best interests.”
“Pitsironis, as alleged, transferred more than $400,000 from the investment account of a couple who trusted him to manage their portfolio directly into bank accounts he controlled. He later used this money to pay his family’s personal expenses, all the while deceiving both his victims and the financial services firm for whom he worked. Financial advisors have a significant responsibility to appropriately manage the life savings of those who put their faith in them. Anyone who falls short on this front by engaging in illegal practices should, and will, be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
In approximately 2009, Pitsironis, who worked in the Melville office of a financial services firm (“Financial Services Firm”), began managing the investments of Victim-1 and Victim-2, a married couple who lived on Long Island (the “Victims”). Between May 2, 2019 and June 11, 2019, Pitsironis initiated 22 transfers totaling approximately $411,000 from one of the Victims’ investment accounts at the Financial Services Firm to a bank account in the defendant’s own name at another financial institution. Pitsironis falsely told the Financial Services Firm that Victim-2 owned the bank account receiving the funds and that Victim-2 had authorized the transfer of funds to that account. Pitsironis then transferred the stolen funds to other bank accounts that he controlled and used the stolen money to pay for his family’s personal expenses, including casino gambling debts, credit card bills and the lease for a luxury car.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of wire fraud, Pitsironis faces up to 20 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business & Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew S. Miller and Elizabeth Macchiaverna are in charge of the prosecution.
Dix Hills, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-MJ-162