BUFFALO, N.Y. - A 70-year-old Amherst man has been sentenced to 8 years behind bars after being convicted on mail fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with a $6 Million Watermark Ponzi scheme, according to the US Attorney's Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen Wylegala, who handled the case, says 70-year-old Ian Campbell Gent had been hired by Guy Gane, who was sentenced to a 13-year jail term in 2011, to assist him at Watermark M-One Financial Services, which was shut down in May 2008 following action by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a statement released to the media, the U.S. Attorney's Office says Gent, along with co-defendant Jamse Lagona, were found guilty by a jury of participating in a scheme which began in early 2006, when Gane and his employees began selling "debentures" to trusting clients, claiming to be using the money to invest in waterfront real estate.
Investigators say Gane promised a 10% return after a year to entice the investors. However, no investments were made, and so Gane used new investor funds to pay off the earlier investors.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says a total of 94 victims suffered a loss of more than $6 Million. In addition to Gane, another employee, Lorenzo Altadonna, had pled to related charges. Lagona is pending sentencing.
According to the release, the conviction was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Kevin M. Niland, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Toni Weirauch, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office.