What You Need to Know
- The ex-broker pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money.
- In 2018, the SEC filed charges and obtained an asset freeze against Santillo.
- He used money obtained from investors to buy the businesses of at least 15 advisors and brokers.
A former registered broker who was barred by the Nevada Securities Division in 2019 has been sentenced to 210 months in prison for his role in running a nationwide Ponzi scheme in which at least 1,000 investors were bilked out of more than $100 million combined over the span of more than a decade, according to the Justice Department and court documents.
In 2019, Perry Santillo Jr. of Rochester, New York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to launder money for his role in “masterminding” the scheme, according to the Justice Department.
On Thursday, Frank P. Geraci Jr., Chief U.S. district judge for the Western District of New York, sentenced Santillo to 17.5 years in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $102.95 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud, according to the sentencing document filed in court that day.
The last firm for which Santillo served as a registered rep was Questar Capital, from 2006-2007, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.
What Your Peers Are Reading
The Nevada Securities Division permanently barred him from offering, soliciting or selling any securities or investment advisory services after allegations he was “operating a scheme or artifice to defraud investors via a bait and switch investment opportunity,” according to a disclosure on his report.
The SEC’s Charges
According to the SEC’s complaint, the defendants defrauded more than 600 investors through sales of securities in issuers they controlled, including First Nationle Solution LLC, United RL Capital Services, and Percipience Global Corp.
They misappropriated the proceeds for numerous purposes, the SEC alleged. According to the complaint, Santillo used some of the money to commission the writing of a song calling him “King Perry” and boasting about his $10,000 suits. The song was played at a party he threw for himself in Las Vegas.
Advisory and Brokerage Firms Gobbled Up
As part of his 2019 plea in the Western District of New York, Santillo agreed to also plead guilty to a mail fraud charge relating to his Ponzi scheme activities that was pending against him at the time in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.