Owner Of Real Estate Investment Firm Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 10 Years In Prison For $17 Million Securities Fraud
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CARLTON P. CABOT, the former owner and chief executive officer of Cabot Investment Properties LLC (“CIP”), was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 10 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of elderly investors in numerous CIP-sponsored real estate investments. As part of the fraud, CABOT and his co-defendant misappropriated approximately $17 million of investor funds to pay for personal and business expenses, and concealed the fraud from the investors with manipulated financial statements. CABOT pled guilty to one count of securities fraud on May 31, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman who imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Carlton Cabot took $17 million from vulnerable investors and spent it lavishly on himself, and then lied to cover it up. The victims, many of whom were in their 70s and 80s, were simply looking for a steady income stream to sustain them in their retirement. Now, instead of economic safety and security, they are faced with financial ruin. Cabot has rightfully been held to account for his selfish and criminal acts.”
According to the allegations contained in the criminal complaint against CABOT, the indictment to which CABOT pled guilty and Cabot’s admissions during his plea allocution, and the statements made by the victims of CABOT’s fraud:
From 2003 through 2012, CIP – which was controlled by CABOT – sponsored and oversaw approximately 18 so-called tenants-in-common (“TIC”) securities offerings to investors located all over the United States (collectively, the “TIC Investments” and the “TIC Investors”). A TIC investment is a real estate investment in which investors collectively own a piece of commercial real estate and are entitled to receive a portion of the rental income from the property.
From 2008 through 2012, CABOT engaged in a scheme to defraud the TIC Investors by misappropriating funds belonging to the TIC Investments and concealing his misappropriations by knowingly providing false and misleading financial reports and other information to the TIC Investors.
According to the representations in the offering prospectuses for the TIC Investments, CIP was allowed to collect only “excess” rental income from the TIC Investments – i.e., any additional money left over after the TIC Investments had paid the operating expenses for the properties and the disbursements due to the TIC Investors. Despite these representations, CABOT repeatedly transferred money out of bank accounts belonging to the TIC Investments and into CIP bank accounts that he controlled (the “CIP Operating Accounts”) before these funds could be used to pay for operating expenses and disbursements to the TIC Investors.
CABOT then used these funds to pay for unauthorized purposes without the knowledge or authorization of the TIC Investors, including: (1) to cover the operating expenses and investor distributions of other TIC Investments that had no available funds; (2) to pay for millions of dollars of personal expenses, including expensive cars, rental apartments, and private school tuition; and (3) to pay for CIP business expenses, including an approximately $1,125,651 civil settlement to certain TIC Investors who had sued CABOT and others.
To conceal the misappropriation of TIC Investment funds from the TIC Investors, CABOT and his co-defendant, Timothy J. Kroll, CIP’s chief operating officer, provided false and misleading financial reports to the TIC Investors that intentionally hid the fact that CIP owed large sums of money to the TIC Investments.
By the end of 2012, when CIP ceased its day-to-day operations, CIP and its principals, CABOT and Kroll, owed approximately $17 million to the TIC Investments, which has never been repaid.
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In addition to his prison sentence, CABOT, 54, of Stamford, Connecticut, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $17 million in restitution and forfeiture.
On October 7, 2015, Kroll pled guilty before Judge Furman for his role in the scheme.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division. He also thanked the Office of the Secretary, William F. Galvin, Massachusetts Securities Division, for its assistance with the investigation of this case.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian R. Everdell and Edward A. Imperatore are in charge of the prosecution.