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New York Halts $5M Hedge Fund Scheme Targeting Elderly

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New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood charged a Queens advisor on Wednesday, in a 99-count criminal indictment, with engaging in a scheme to defraud elderly investors by placing them in his hedge fund without their knowledge or consent.

The  advisor, Dean S. Mustaphalli, owner and operator of Mustaphalli Capital Partners Fund LP, was charged with operating a multimillion-dollar securities fraud scheme that involved targeting investors who were elderly and at or near retirement.

According to the criminal indictment,  Mustaphalli’s scheme brought in more than $5 million from 22 victims between June 2014 and March 2017 alone — including many southeast Queens residents.

During the relevant time period, Mustaphalli’s hedge fund collapsed, losing 92% of its value.

The indictment, unsealed in Queens County Supreme Court, charges Mustaphalli with grand larceny, forgery and securities fraud violations under the Martin Act, among other charges.

If convicted, Mustaphalli faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison.

A separate civil lawsuit filed by the attorney general’s office in June 2017 alleges that Mustaphalli fraudulently solicited an additional $7 million from prior investors between 2012 and 2014.

In total, Mustaphalli allegedly fraudulently solicited his former clients to invest over $12 million — and lost over $11 million of their money.

“New Yorkers should be able to trust the people they turn to for investment advice,” Underwood said in a statement. “Yet, as we allege, Dean Mustaphalli deceived the clients that trusted him — looting and squandering millions from senior New Yorkers who relied on those savings. Our office will continue to crack down on unscrupulous financial advisors who scam and swindle New Yorkers out of their hard-earned money.”

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