Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's son-in-law was arrested and charged Monday with operating a Ponzi scheme and defrauding multiple investors of about $7 million.
Marcello Trebitsch, 37, of Brooklyn, who is married to Silver's daughter Michelle Trebitsch, also 37, was charged Monday morning with one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud, according to an unsealed federal indictment.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who is prosecuting both Silver and Trebitsch, said of Trebitsch in a statement: "Investing in securities entails certain risks, but should not include the risk of being defrauded by one's investment manager. Investment fraud is a high priority for this Office."
Trebitsch's arrest comes less than two months after Silver was indicted by a grand jury on federal charges that he steered real estate legislation and medical research funds in return for $4 million in kickbacks disguised as legal referral fees.
Diego Rodriguez, the assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York field office, said: "As alleged, Trebitsch took $7 million in investor money under false pretenses. Allegedly promising double digit returns to investors, Trebitsch suffered losses on what money he did invest."
An attempt to reach Trebitsch and Silver was not successful Monday night.
Investigators said that from 2009 through December 2014, Trebitsch solicited investors by telling them he would use their money to purchase large-capitalization stocks through an investment fund called Allese Capital LLC, which Trebitsch co-owned with his wife, who is a certified public accountant. He did not make such purchases and lied to investors through phony statements, the indictment claims.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars from the investment account were transferred to another account controlled by Trebitsch's wife, the indictment states. She has not been charged.
If convicted, Marcello Trebitsch faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, plus fines.