Ponzi Ponzi Ponzi!

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Do we even have to go through the exercise of putting this through Equity Private's Guidebook for Financial Fraud Analysis (1st Edition)?

New York and federal officials are investigating a Hauppauge investment firm that has indefinitely halted payouts to clients, citing setbacks on commercial real estate loans.
The firm, Agape World, specializes in short-term, high-yield loans to developers and builders, offering investors returns of as much as 14 percent in as little as 72 days.
The firm's founder, Nicholas Cosmo, told investors on a 1 p.m. conference call on Friday that three borrowers had defaulted on loans, forcing the halt in payments. Cosmo told more than 150 investors on the call that he had hired a law firm to foreclose on the projects and recoup investments, but that the process could take as long as one year.
"My job is to make sure that principal is paid back in total," Cosmo said on the call.
Cosmo did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment. Attempts to reach him by phone were also unsuccessful.
Agape clients invested between $5,000 and $3 million each to fund what are known as bridge loans that usually lasted 10 to 12 weeks, but which could extend for several months.

Need I go on? Really? Alright.

In 1999, Cosmo was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $177,000 in restitution for his role in defrauding investors of a Long Island securities dealer. The court also ordered him to undergo gambling therapy as part of his sentence.
Cosmo founded Agape World soon after his release from prison in August 2000 with money from family and friends.

This is my favorite part though:

Entrepreneur Magazine last year named Agape one of America's fastest-growing companies.

Then there's this:

Angry victims of an alleged Ponzi scheme stormed the Hauppauge offices of Agape World, and one of them socked owner Nick Cosmo upside his head Friday.

I mean, you can't make this stuff up.
Update:

Posted by Anal_yst, Jan 26, 2009 4:20PM
This.Is.Awesome!
Want pics of the carnage asap!


Your wish is my command. Pics after the jump.
LI investment firm halts payouts, under investigation [Long Island Business News]
Agape investor packed a punch [LI Biz Blog]

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