Long Island Man Charged with Defrauding Investors
Defendant Allegedly Misappropriated More Than $700,000 in Investor Funds
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip charging Mark Lisser with wire fraud for lying to investors and potential investors to induce them to invest in what they believed were shares of several companies prior to the companies’ initial public offerings. Lisser was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.
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 charges.
“As alleged, Lisser convinced investors to trust him with their money by lying about what he was selling and how much of it he would keep for himself,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “We and our law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who abuse the trust of investors in order to enrich themselves.” Mr. DuCharme thanked the New York Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance in this investigation.
“As an investment firm partner, Lisser encouraged his victims to purchase pre-IPO shares of companies that weren’t his to sell, as we allege today. He purportedly used this money to make illegitimate payments, fund salaries, and satisfy his monthly mortgage payments. Padding one’s pockets at the expense of others isn’t only a bad way to do business, it’s a federal crime,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
According to the complaint, between October 2018 and January 2019, Lisser was a partner in Knightsbridge Private Partners LLC (“Knightsbridge”), which operated a series of websites and call centers used to solicit investments in purported pre-IPO shares of companies. Lisser and employees of Knightsbridge solicited these investments by telling investors and potential investors that Knightsbridge owned the shares it was selling, that Knightsbridge was on the capitalization table of the pre-IPO companies and that Knightsbridge and its employees did not earn any commissions or fees until after the shares were issued to the public and the investor made money. In fact, as Lisser knew, Knightsbridge did not directly own any of these pre-IPO shares, was not on the capitalization table of any of the pre-IPO companies, and Lisser and Knightsbridge employees received money and commissions from the investments at the time they were made. As a result of this fraud scheme, Lisser misappropriated more than $700,000 in investors’ funds which he used to make payments to companies controlled by Knightsbridge employees, pay salaries and sales commissions, pay his personal credit card bill and make payments on a mortgage.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Lisser faces up to 20 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew S. Miller and David Gopstein are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein is assisting with forfeiture matters.
MARK ALAN LISSER
Massapequa, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-MJ-1128