Briella TomassettiJun 12, 2018, 5:22 pmJun 13, 2018, 1:46 pm

Syosset-based financial advisor allegedly stole millions from elderly clients

Officials say, in some cases, retirement funds were drained through the alleged Ponzi scheme


MINEOLA — The Nassau County District Attorney's Office arrested a Syosset-based financial advisor for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from his elderly clients.

Prosecutors allege 48-year-old Matthew Eckstein was involved in a $5 million Ponzi scheme. They say he scammed at least 14 people; most of them are senior citizens.

"These were senior citizens looking for a safe, low-risk place to invest their money,” said Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

An investigation began in November 2017 following a referral from the Securities Exchange Commission. Nearly three years prior, in January of 2015, investigators say one of his victims agreed to invest around $385,000 into a company called "Conmac Funding" at Eckstein's request. Eckstein, they say, told his client that the investment was safe and that the money would be returned after a two-year waiting period plus interest. But in January of 2017, the victim requested a return and only got back a payment of $26,699. At that time, Eckstein allegedly claimed the rest had to be paid back in installments.

"They were asking for their money back, and he didn't have it to give back to them, and he stopped returning phone calls, and they notified law enforcement," Singas said.

An April 2018 search warrant yielded thousands of financial documents that suggest Eckstein actually used that money to fund other business enterprises, a down payment on his home in Oyster Bay Cove, and to pay other victims who were part of his scheme.

The 14 alleged victims are from Massapequa; Seaford; Smithtown; Melville; New York City; Norwalk, Connecticut; Jupiter, Florida; and Redlands, California.

The investigation also revealed that Eckstein allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars while acting as the executor of the estates of two deceased clients.

"Basically, all he would do is take money from one person and give it to another person. He wasn't investing anything," Singas said.

Ecksetin was arraigned last week on charges of four counts of grand larceny and two counts of scheme to defraud. Bail was set at $125,000 bond or $75,000 cash and Eckstein is due back in court on July 2.

If convicted, he could face between five to 15 years in prison.

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