‘Mini Madoff’ Gets 25 Years

Oct 17 2011 | 9:21am ET

Ponzi schemer Nicholas Cosmo, known in the press as the “mini Madoff” has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The owner of Agape World and Agape Merchant Advance was arrested in January 2009 and pled guilty to a scheme under which he’d raised $413 million to make short-term bridge loans but in fact lent only $30 million. Actual victim losses totaled about $195 million. Cosmo ran the scheme from October 2003 to January 2009.

“Those who lie and steal from the investing public are on notice that they face severe penalties,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn said today in a statement. “As recounted today in court by several of his victims, the defendant’s actions crushed the hopes and dreams of everyday citizens.”

A former Agape World vice president and underwriter, Richard Barry, pled guilty in August 2010 to participating in the scheme and will be sentenced on November 2.

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