Andy's Got Your Back on a mini-Bernie Madoff - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on a mini-Bernie Madoff

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(WMC TV) - His name is Nicholas Cosmos. If you haven't heard of him, you will.

Law enforcement calls him the "mini-Bernie Madoff."

Cosmos, a former stockbroker, is serving a 25-year prison sentence. A judge ordered him to pay $179 million in restitution after ripping off 6,000 investors in a Ponzi scheme.

Postal inspectors said Cosmos ran New York-based Agape World, a short-term lender to small businesses.

"He promised to pay investors anywhere from ten to 15 percent interest on (the company's) loans that were typically 60-day loans," said U.S. Postal Inspector Richard Cinnamo.

"Sal" was one of Cosmos' investors in Agape World. He invested $500,000 after hearing Cosmos' big-return sales pitch.

He said initially, he received interest checks -- steady income. But then he said Cosmos asked him to roll over his money, re-invest it in the company and recruit other investors.  
 
Inspectors said those are the typical signs of a Ponzi scheme. They posed undercover as investors to dig deeper into Cosmos' business dealings.
  
"His vice was gambling," said Cinnamo. "Cosmos used over $80 million dollars to trade on the futures markets, but his investors had no idea he was doing that."

Soon, those investors stopped seeing returns on their money. Sal's half-million disappeared.
 
"Be very leery of who you give your money to," he said.

Always check an investment opportunity with your state's financial institutions agency as well as federal regulators with the SEC and the FDIC.

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