Defendants allegedly defrauded investors who believed they were investing in Peloton, WeWork, & Airbnb Stock
MINEOLA, N. Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a barred investment broker from Glen Cove and his business partner were arraigned today on charges they stole $436,000 from four investors who believed they were investing in pre-initial public offering stock for several high-profile companies. Instead, the defendants allegedly spent those funds on personal luxury items and travel. The case was referred to NCDA by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.
Peter Quartararo, 56, of Glen Cove, is charged with five counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony), one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, one count of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony), and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (an E felony). If convicted on the top count, the maximum sentence is five to 15 years in prison.
Paul Casella, 54, of East Meadow, is charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and one count of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. If convicted on the top count, the maximum sentence is five to 15 years in prison.
The defendants were arraigned today before Judge Karen Moroney.
“These defendants allegedly conned investors to give them hundreds of thousands of dollars promising high returns from prominent companies, but instead they pocketed the funds to support their lavish lifestyles,” DA Singas said. “Investment frauds cost innocent Americans billions of dollars each year and I encourage every investor to verify the credentials and licenses of any financial professional they work with and to report any suspicious activity to my office.”
DA Singas said beginning in July 2019, Peter Quartararo met with four victims and told them that he had access to “pre-IPO” or pre-initial public offering stock in the companies Peloton, WeWork, and/or Airbnb for approximately $2.00 a share. Quartararo told them that when the companies later went public, he would sell the shares and give the profits to the victims, less capital gains taxes.
Each victim gave Quartararo between $72,000 and $200,000 in checks with the understanding that the funds would be used to purchase the pre-IPO shares. Instead, the investigation revealed that the defendants never purchased any shares of stock in the pre-IPO companies represented on the victims’ behalf and instead, the victims’ checks were deposited into accounts controlled by Leonard Quartararo, Peter Quartararo’s father, and Paul Casella, Peter Quartararo’s business partner. These funds were then allegedly used by the defendants to purchase food, travel, and vehicles, including a 2020 Mercedes Benz SUV and as the down payment on Peter Quartararo’s Maserati automobile. Several large cash withdrawals were also made by Leonard Quartararo.
The SEC has confirmed that no shares of IPO stock in Peloton, WeWork, and Airbnb were ever purchased by the defendants.
Peter Quartararo was previously barred from operating as a stock broker in March 2013 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FinRA).
Five court-ordered search warrants have been executed in connection with this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Investigative Counsel Richard Sikes of the Financial Crimes Bureau. The NCDA Civil Forfeiture Bureau has assisted in identifying any available assets. Quartararo is being represented by Gerard Donnelly, Esq. and Casella is being represented by Joseph Murray, Esq.
The Nassau County District Attorney wishes to thank the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for bringing this case to our attention.
If you believe you were the victim of an investment fraud perpetrated by Peter Quartararo, Paul Casella, or Leonard Quartararo, contact the Nassau County DA’s Office Financial Crimes Bureau at 516-571-2149.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.