A Rochester, NY-based man will spend more than 17 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to his role in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 1,000 investors of more than $100 million, The Justice Department made the announcement Friday.
Perry Santillo was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, and of conspiracy to commit conspiracy with Christopher Parris (who was also convicted, but had not yet been sentenced). Was sentenced to 210 months in prison. ), as well as others, according to the DOJ.
Securities and Exchange Commission Accused of shutting down the Ponzi scheme of both In June 2018, it was alleged that he defrauded investors across the country over a period of more than six years. According to the SEC, Pantillo was registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) between 2003 and 2007 (including short tenures with NYLife Securities and Nationwide Securities, As per their BrokerCheck profile,
In early 2007, Santillo and Paris formed Lucian Development as a means of attracting investors into a separate business called Citi Capital Corporation, owned and operated by Efrain Taylor, but that year Taylor told both that investors would be paying money. (Taylor was later convicted of running his own Ponzi scheme). Santillo and Paris responded by acquiring Citi Capital’s assets and loans, the latter of which quickly and heavily exceeded the amount of available properties.
The two decided not to tell existing investors that their funds were gone, but they needed to find more funding to avoid the types of losses that would raise suspicion. Santillo and Paris opted to find new investors for their issuers by purchasing at least 15 investment advisors or brokers nationwide, including five in California, two in South Carolina, and businesses in Ohio, Nevada and Florida among other states. .
According to the Justice Department, once a broker or advisor is acquired, Santillo and Paris (presumably named ‘CP’ in the case’s filing in 2019) will ask purchased business owners to hold meetings with their clients.
“At these meetings, and in subsequent meetings, Santillo and CP advised clients that their investment portfolios needed to be adjusted to improve returns and reduce risk, and issued commitments to liquidate existing investments and reduce risk. It is recommended to use the proceeds for receiving letters and other securities,” the filing read.
Centillo reportedly kept the true nature of the investment a secret, with new investors unaware that a significant amount of his funds were being used to pay previous investors. Santillo and Paris used funds from investors to pay for operating expenses on the plan and to fund further purchases of investment and brokerage businesses to gain access to more potential victims (John Piccaretto, Another Rochester-based individual, previously honored Seven years in prison for his role in the Lucian Development Ponzi scheme).
Santillo and Paris also used investors’ money for their personal expenses. According to the SEC complaint, Santillo used investor funds to pay for expenses on homes, cars and a country club and Las Vegas resort in several states. At one point, Santillo organized a party in a Las Vegas nightclub and commissioned a song written about himself, with the lyrics of the song as “King Perry”.
According to the DOJ, through 2018, Santillo and Paris raised at least $115 million from nearly 1,000 investors, and returned about $44.8 million of it, with about $71 million still outstanding. In addition to his prison sentence, Santillo was also ordered to pay more than $102,950 in compensation to victims of the scheme.