Trustee settling with Agape brokers
by David WinzelbergPublished: December 3, 2009Tags: Agape World, Nicholas Cosmo, Ponzi scheme
Five people who the feds allege pocketed more than $40 million by selling bogus investments for Nicholas Cosmo’s Agape World are negotiating to settle the lawsuits brought against them by the bankruptcy trustee in the case.
Trustee Ken Silverman and attorneys from his firm Silverman Acampora told the federal bankruptcy court Tuesday that they were actively negotiating settlements with some of the former Agape World brokers, including Jason Keryc, Bryan Arias, Hugo Arias and Diane Kaylor, and each of their corporate entities.
Silverman is in “early stages of discussions” concerning a resolution of the claims against Jose Ricardo Diaz.
The trustee explained that any settlement is subject to further investigation regarding the disposition of funds received from the brokers and others who profited from Agape, the Hauppauge-based company that feds charge was really a $413 million Ponzi scheme.
Silverman had sued the brokers to reclaim the lucrative commissions Cosmo had paid to them, which feds estimated at $55 million. Keryc was sued for $16 million, Hugo Arias for $10 million, Diaz for $8 million, Kaylor for $4.75 million, and Bryan Arias, Hugo’s brother, for $2 million.
The court also approved the trustee’s $180,000 settlement with Stephenson Lane Carriage Homes, a Maine housing project Agape lent $214,000 to. A payment of about $749,000 to the trustee for services rendered so far on the Agape case was also approved by the court.
Also, about two dozen victims of Cosmo’s alleged fraud are expected to rally in front of the Bank of America tower across from Bryant Park in Manhattan on Friday at noon. New Jersey resident Lucille Manzella, who helped organize the protest, said the event is aimed at calling attention to the bank’s role in Agape World’s business operations.
A class-action suit filed on behalf of Agape victims claims the bank assigned more than one employee to Cosmo’s office in Hauppauge and supplied direct access to the bank’s accounts. The suit says Bank of America also provided Cosmo with access to information about the cash balances of Agape investors who had accounts with the bank. Those Agape investors routinely received aggressive solicitations from the company when their balances swelled, the suit claims.-- David WinzelbergReporterLong Island Business News631email@example.com://www.libn.com/spacedout
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