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Rockland Accountant Gets 3 Years in Prison for 11-year-long, $6M Scam

Friends and clients fleeced in Ponzi scheme.

A 70-year-old accountant from Monsey who cheated friends in clients in a $6 million Ponzi scheme that last 11 years has been sentenced in federal court to three years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Crotty on Wednesday also ordered Alan Ritter to three years probation after he is released from prison and ordered him to pay restitution and make necessary forfeitures, which are still to be determined.

"Alan Ritter, like other Ponzi schemers before him, added personal betrayal to his fraud by fleecing unsuspecting victims who were friends and clients," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. "He will now face the penalty for his conduct."

The sentence came after Ritter pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud in September 2012.

The Ponzi scheme had its roots in 2001, when Ritter, who operated his own accounting practice in Rockland County, lost more than $500,000 from a seperate business venture - a debt collection business. Bharara said that to cover that loss, Ritter solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from friends and accounting clients, telling them that he was going to invest the money in real estate ventures.

For the next 11 years, Bharara said, Ritter ran a Ponzi scheme in which he borrowed more and more money that was purported to be used for business ventures but was actually used to cover interest payments on the original loans — and to pay his own personal expenses.

In an example of one of Ritter's frauds, in November 2011 he was given $650,000 by a family to pay off the family's debts, with leftover funds to be held for future uses. Instead, Ritter stole at least $530,000 or the original $650,000.

In another example, Ritter took in funds from a client so that back taxes could be paid to the IRS for the client. However, $75,000 was used for the Ponzi scheme and for Ritter's personal expenses.

Smitty Chesterfield January 17, 2013 at 04:50 AM
3 years for this dirtbag is not justice
LeftYearsAgo January 17, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Smitty you just congratulated Mike Hirsch for getting charges dropped !! Why didn't you all him a dirtbag for the charges that weren't?! Hmmm
NoName January 18, 2013 at 01:38 PM
I agree that 3 years is nowhere close to sufficient time behind bars. I would say a minimum of 10 years with the gurantee all monies paid back. If not, another 10 years tacked on for a total of 20 years -No Parole.

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