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Bogus Broker Who Threatened to Kill Disabled Client Gets 5-Plus Years Behind Bars

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What You Need to Know

  • Gregg Brie admitted to embezzling funds from three victims, two of whom lived in his New York apartment complex.
  • He threatened to literally kill one of them, a disabled client with a fixed income who was confined to a wheelchair.
  • Brie spent the money he obtained from his victims mainly on a Mercedes-Benz lease and to pay off credit cards.

A bogus broker who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after embezzling over $640,000 from three clients and threatening to murder one of them has been sentenced to 63 months in prison.

Gregg Brie, 54, of White Plains, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week, court documents show.

In addition to the more than five years in prison, Seiber ordered Brie to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $642,333.33 in restitution. This is the “amount of proceeds traceable to the offense charged” in count one that Brie pleaded guilty to, according to a court document.

Brie has no Financial Industry Regulatory Authority record and was not a registered representative at the time the fraud was committed, a period that stretched from October 2016 to September 2020. He claimed, though, that he was operating his own firm, Topper Management, out of his apartment.

In a Nov. 3 sentencing memorandum, Benjamin Gold, the attorney who represented Brie, requested the judge sentence his client to 48 months instead of the 51-63 months recommended by the applicable guidelines for the crime that Brie pleaded guilty to.

Forty-eight months “will provide ample general and specific deterrence,” Gold argued, noting his client is 54 and, “if sentenced to 48 months, Mr. Brie will be close to 58 when he finishes his sentence.” Therefore, “statistically speaking, Mr. Brie’s age puts him at a low rate of reoffending,” Gold said.

However, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, responded that Brie was “previously convicted of fraud [and] now asks for a below-Guidelines sentence of 48 months.” Williams added: “The Government recommends that the Court sentence the defendant within the applicable Guidelines range of 51 to 63 months.”

Gold, a public defender, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about the judge’s decision to sentence Brie to the maximum 63 months.

A ‘Literal’ Threat

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According to the allegations to which he pleaded guilty to and other court documents, Brie embezzled funds from three victims, two of whom lived in his White Plains apartment complex. 

Brie advised his first victim, a disabled man on a fixed income and confined to a wheelchair, to buy shares in Alaska Air Group. Bank records showed that this victim gave Brie over $480,000. Brie then told his disabled client that he had opened accounts for him at a brokerage firm and that the client’s stock had grown in value to about $8 million.

But, when the victim asked for his money, Brie told the client that the accounts were frozen, because “the stockbrokers” had done something “sketchy” to buy the shares at a lower price.

When the victim attempted to contact Brie’s firm, Brie told his client that he would “murder [him]” if the victim attempted to contact the firm again. Brie repeated that threat at least two additional times, noting he meant his threats to be taken “literally, not metaphorically,” it was alleged.

According to written loan agreements drafted by Brie, the second victim made three loans to him for a total amount of about $157,000, which was “for the purpose of producing and distributing a proprietary, composite unimold commode for use within indigent venues of the African nation of Uganda.” 

The third victim allegedly loaned $2,000 to Brie, who claimed to this victim that he was illiquid because he had put his own cash into the “unimold commode” project.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s analysis of bank accounts controlled by Brie showed he spent the money he obtained from his victims mainly on credit cards and a Mercedes-Benz lease, according to court documents.

The evidence also showed there was no actual brokerage account, Williams pointed out in a news release on Nov. 16.