Seaford and Massapequa residents are among the victims of a $5 million Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by a Syosset-based financial advisor accused of scamming elderly clients by promising high rates of returns.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced the arrest of Matthew Eckstein, 48, for allegedly scamming at least 14 people, mostly seniors, out of a total of more than $5 Million.
Eckstein was arraigned June 7 before Judge William Hohauser and charged with four felony counts of Grand Larceny and two counts of Scheme to Defraud. Bail was set at $125,000 bond and the defendant is due back in court July 2. If convicted, he faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison.
“This unscrupulous financial advisor even pilfered hundreds of thousands from the estates of deceased clients,” DA Singas said. “The charges are even more egregious because many of the alleged victims were elderly and seeking safe investments for their retirement funds.
DA Singas said that, beginning in January 2015, an elderly victim for whom the defendant worked as a personal accountant and financial advisor, agreed to invest approximately $385,000 into a company, Conmac
Funding, at his urging. At that time, the defendant assured his client that the investment had no risk, and the principal would be returned after a two-year waiting period, with an additional four-percent interest similar to a certificate of deposit.
After waiting for two years, the victim requested the return of the money in January 2017, but received a payment of only $26,699. At that time, the defendant allegedly claimed that Conmac Funding was actually an insurance company and her money had to be paid back in installments.
A search warrant executed by NCDA investigators, US Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and the NYS Comptroller’s Office in April of 2018 at Eckstein’s home office yielded thousands of pages of financial documents. Instead of investing the money into Conmac, the defendant is accused of using the money to fund other business enterprises, personal purchases and paying other victims of the scheme.
The investigation also revealed that Eckstein allegedly committed estate fraud while acting as the executor of the estates of two deceased clients, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The 14 alleged victims are from Massapequa, Seaford, Smithtown, Melville, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Norwalk, CT, Jupiter, FL and Redlands, CA. They met the defendant when they were his clients at a Garden City-based investment firm or were referred to him by friends or family.
The defendant started his own business, Sisk Investment Services, Inc. in 2015, from his home. He allegedly used some of the stolen funds for the down payment on his Oyster Bay Cove home, which has a swimming pool and tennis court. The District Attorney has also filed a civil attachment on Eckstein’s residence.
The NCDA investigation began with a referral from the Securities Exchange Commission in November, 2017. The investigation is ongoing and anyone who believes that they were defrauded by Matthew Eckstein, or any investment professional, is encouraged to contact the Nassau County DA’s Financial Crimes Bureau at (516) 571-2149.