BUFFALO, N.Y. (LAWFUEL) — Richard S. Piccoli, 82, of Williamsville will be arraigned today in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with mail fraud in connection with the alleged operation of a Ponzi scheme using his companies, Gen See Capital Corporation and Gen Unlimited, announced U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn of the Western District of New York. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
In a related action today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil complaint against Piccoli and Gen-See, alleging securities fraud and other violations of the securities laws. The SEC also is seeking a court order immediately freezing the assets of Piccoli and Gen See Capital Corporation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala stated that the criminal complaint alleges that the defendant, since at least 2004, has been operating a fraudulent investment scheme through his business, Gen-See Capital Corporation, which has offices on Main Street, Williamsville, NY. The complaint alleges that Piccoli offers as an investment product term certificates earning a guaranteed 7.1% annually, which is distributed in regular monthly checks mailed to the investors. He advertises almost exclusively in Catholic newspapers locally and throughout the United States. He is alleged to have explained in detail to a prospective investor how he invests that money in discounted real estate mortgages. According to the complaint, a review of his bank records by law enforcement agents shows no such investments.
Rather, in classic “Ponzi scheme” fashion, Piccoli is alleged to be simply paying earlier investors with new investment funds. According to the complaint, law enforcement officials believe Piccoli has taken in at least $17,000,000 in investment funds since 2004. It is alleged that Piccoli has, to date, taken in enough new investments to meet his monthly obligations.
Persons who believe they may be victims are asked to contact the Postal Inspection Service Hotline at 716 / 853-5344 and leave detailed contact information.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.