A White Plains investment adviser was sentenced last week in federal court to 63 months in prison for fraud in connection with the embezzlement of more than $640,000 for three clients.
Gregg Brie, 54, who previously pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel to serve three years of supervised release and pay forfeiture and restitution in the amount of $642,333.33.
According to court documents and information provided by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Brie embezzled funds from three victims, two of whom lived in his White Plains apartment complex. He advised his first victim, a disabled man on a fixed income and confined to a wheelchair, to buy shares in Alaska Air Group, Inc. Bank records show that this victim gave Brie more than $480,000. Brie told his victim that he had opened accounts for him at a brokerage firm and that his stock had increased in value to approximately $8 million.
When the victim asked for his money, Brie told him that his accounts were frozen because the stockbrokers had done something “sketchy” in order to buy the shares at a lower price. When the victim attempted to contact the brokerage firm, Brie allegedly told him that he would “murder [him]” if the victim attempted to contact the firm again. Brie allegedly repeated this threat at least two more times, noting that he meant his threats to be taken “literally, not metaphorically.”
According to written loan agreements drafted by Brie, the second victim made three loans to Brie in a total amount of approximately $157,000 “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 loaned $2,000 to Brie on Brie’s representation that he was illiquid because he had put all of his cash into the unimold commode project.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) analysis of bank accounts controlled by Brie showed that he spent the money he obtained from his victims primarily on credit cards and a Mercedes Benz lease. The evidence showed that there was no brokerage account.
The prosecution of the case was handled by the office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James McMahon and Shiva Logarajah were in charge of the prosecution.