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Investment Fund Manager Admits To $96 Million Ponzi Scheme

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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An investment fund manager has admitted in a Long Island courtroom to stealing nearly $100 million of investors’ money in a Ponzi scheme that helped fund his interest in a Hamptons resort.

Brian Callahan, of Old Westbury, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip to securities fraud and wire fraud. He could face up to 20 years in prison on each count when he is sentenced on Aug. 8.

Federal prosecutors indicted the 44-year-old Callahan and his brother-in-law, Adam J. Manson, in August of last year.

EXTRA: Read The Full Indictment

In the indictment, prosecutors said Callahan raised more than $118 million from at least 40 investors in connection with four different investment funds that he managed between December 2006 and February 2012.

Despite assuring the investors the money would be invested in mutual funds, hedge funds and other securities, Callahan “siphoned off” about $96 million, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Callahan also diverted millions of dollars to an unprofitable 117-unit beachfront resort and development that he co-owned with Manson in Montauk.

Authorities said Manson managed the property and helped Callahan carry out the alleged scheme by lying to an auditor and helping him make fake documents.

“Callahan gave his word that he would invest his clients’ funds safely and responsibly in established vehicles. Instead, he simply stole the funds to prop up his partner’s failing investment,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said last August. “To conceal their status as business failures, the defendants employed all the tricks in the typical con man’s bag. They created fake documents, stole a person’s identity and engaged in forgery.”

Among the victims of the scheme were the Montauk Volunteer Fire Department and a Maryland investor, who reported losing $11 million. Prosecutors said Callahan fraudulently diverted $600,000 in fire department’s funds to the Panoramic View.

Besides the Montauk resort, Callahan also purchased expensive cars and homes in Old Westbury and Westhampton. He also sent fake account statements to investors claiming their investments were performing well.

Some of the money was used to purchase the Panoramic View, described in court papers as “unprofitable.”

Resort co-owner Manson was charged with lying to an auditor looking into Callahan’s investment funds, allegedly providing fake documents, bogus promissory notes and doctored balance sheets.

The case against Manson, who has pleaded not guilty, is pending, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office. Prosecutors say he and Callahan co-owned the Montauk resort. Manson is accused of lying to an independent auditor about where the money for the resort came from. He is accused of providing fake documents, including bogus promissory notes and doctored balance sheets, to the independent auditor.

Callahan also faces millions in fines, and authorities have taken action to seize the resort and other homes he owns.

Callahan ran investment firms called Horizon Global Advisors. He and his wife were named in a 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission complaint alleging a $90 million Ponzi scheme.

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