Thursday, February 12, 2009

"to plea or not to plea" that is the question....

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of a suburban New York City private investment firm accused of swindling clients in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi fraud is in plea discussions to resolve the case, according to court papers.
Nicholas Cosmo, chief executive Agape World Inc, has been jailed since his Jan. 26 arrest for allegedly defrauding clients who deposited $370 million in his investment operation. Court documents filed by federal prosecutors and a defense lawyer show they are in talks that could result in a guilty plea by the money manager.
The two sides "are engaged in plea negotiations, which they believe are likely to result in a disposition of this case without trial," according to a court filing Wednesday submitted by prosecutors.
The filing was a proposed order to the U.S. District Court in Central Islip, N.Y., to extend by 30 days a late February deadline for the government to seek a federal grand jury indictment against Cosmo.
Cosmo's lawyer, Stacey Richman, in a separate court filing, said her client had agreed to the delay "so that the defense and the government can engage in further discussions about the disposition of this matter."
Richman replaced Cosmo's first defense attorney, Steven Feldman. She was not immediately available for further comment Thursday. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, declined to comment.

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