NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A Long Island soccer club official has been accused of running a $5-million Ponzi scheme.
Robert Rocco, 48, ran the Dix Hills soccer club for years and earned the trust of players and parents, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Neighbors were shocked to learn about a federal indictment that was unsealed on Tuesday, which accused Rocco of wire fraud and the theft of more than $66,000 in soccer club money. Money that Rocco allegedly put into a Ponzi scheme that he ran out of a Melville office building.
“Trust, yeah, and it’s broken trust,” Frank Brancato said.
The feds allege that Rocco raised $5,000,000 from soccer club parents and volunteers under the guise that the money was being used to help a business venture being run by the Shinnecock Indian tribe.
“Rocco employed fraud and deceit to victimize his friends and neighbors and even used his local soccer club to further his schemes,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement, “His promises of high returns were illusory and propped up by false account statements.”
Lynch said that Rocco promised investors returns of 15 to 18-percent.
“Never! When the bank is giving you 1-percent, someones gonna give you 18-percent? Nah,” Brancato said.
Rocco made bond on Tuesday and was allowed to return home. Several people at his house refused to comment.
The amounts invested by Rocco’s alleged victims ranged from $25,000 to more than $1,000,000, the feds said. it remained unclear on Tuesday night if that money will be recovered.
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