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Press Release

Brooklyn Man Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Multimillion-Dollar Ponzi Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MARCELLO TREBITSCH was sentenced to two years in prison in connection with his operation of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least four investors of nearly $6 million over the course of seven years.  Among other things, TREBITSCH lied to two of his investors by telling them that he would invest their money through an investment fund that he controlled that would generate double-digit returns with very low risk.  To that end, TREBITSCH provided the investors with fake account statements and federal tax forms that reflected significant gains.  In reality, TREBITSCH invested only a portion of the investors’ money, suffered enormous trading losses, and used the remainder of the investors’ money for his own personal benefit and to pay back other investors.  TREBITSCH pled guilty to a one-count Information charging him with securities fraud on July 13, 2015, and was sentenced today before United States District Judge Vernon S. Broderick. 

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Marcello Trebitsch purported to be an expert investor, but in reality, he lost much of his victims’ money through poor trading and used the rest for personal gain and to pay old victims with new investors’ money.  Trebitsch’s conviction and sentence holds him accountable for his crimes and keeps him from victimizing anyone else.”

According to the Complaint, the Information, other submissions filed in Manhattan federal court, and other statements made in open court:

From 2007 through 2014, TREBITSCH engaged in a multimillion-dollar fraudulent investment scheme, during which he solicited money from investors based on materially false and misleading representations.  Specifically, TREBITSCH told the investors that he, through an investment fund that he created called Allese Capital LLC, would (a) create and perfect public shell companies to sell to private companies; (b) execute specific trades at the direction of an investor; and (c) purchase and sell stocks on a daily basis, with little or no money remaining invested in the market at the end of each trading day.  In fact, in all cases, TREBITSCH did not invest the money as he said he would, and instead principally used the investors’ money for his own personal benefit, including to repay other investors.  With respect to the portion of investor funds that he did use to purchase securities, TREBITSCH suffered net trading losses, which he did not disclose to the investors.

In 2007, TREBITSCH represented to an individual (“Victim-1”) that TREBITSCH would invest Victim-1’s money to perfect shell companies and sell them to private companies for a positive return.  TREBITSCH did create and perfect shell companies, but falsely represented to Victim-1 that he sold the shell companies, when, in fact, he had not and instead later used them to create bank accounts through which he wired and concealed proceeds of his scheme. 

In 2008, another individual (“Victim-2”) agreed to invest money with TREBITSCH after TREBITSCH promised to simply execute trades as instructed by Victim-2.  Instead, TREBITSCH did not invest Victim-2’s money as instructed, and further sent daily account updates by email that were entirely fabricated.  After Victim-2 requested a redemption of his investment and purported returns of approximately $3 million, TREBITSCH admitted his fraudulent scheme to Victim-2, informed Victim-2 that TREBITSCH had lost nearly all of the money, and agreed to repay some money to Victim-2 that TREBITSCH obtained from a subsequent investor.

In 2009, TREBITSCH obtained additional investments from another individual  (“Victim-3”) by promising to invest in large cap stocks and mitigate risk by selling the entire portfolio at the end of each trading day.  Further, TREBITSCH represented that Victim-3 would receive double-digit returns and falsely asserted that a major Wall Street bank had already invested $50 million with TREBITSCH.  Rather than invest the money as represented, TREBITSCH used some of Victim-3’s initial investment to repay Victim-2, and further failed to invest the money as promised.  Even though TREBITSCH used the money for personal gain, to repay other investors, or lost much of it through poor trading, TREBITSCH sent Victim-3 fake monthly account statements and tax forms, which falsely purported to show double-digit annual returns.  Based on these apparent positive returns, Victim-3 invested approximately $6.5 million with TREBITSCH over the course of four years.  Of that total investment, TREBITSCH only repaid approximately $2.2 million, some of which was obtained from a subsequent investor.

In 2014, after reviewing Victim-3’s account statements and federal tax forms related to Victim-3’s investment with TREBITSCH, Victim-3’s accountant (“Victim-4”) invested approximately $700,000 with TREBITSCH.  None of this money was invested as TREBITSCH promised; rather, it was immediately diverted to Victim-3 to satisfy Victim-3’s redemption request.  TREBITSCH never returned any of the $700,000 Victim-4 invested with TREBITSCH.  

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As part of the sentence imposed today by Judge Broderick, TREBITSCH, 37, of Brooklyn, New York, was further sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay forfeiture and restitution to the victims of the offense in the amount of $5,905,949. 

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel S. Goldman and Amy Lester are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated December 16, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-325