A real estate developer is facing up to two decades behind bars for operating an alleged years-long Ponzi scheme that included properties in the Hudson Valley.
Michael D’Alessio, 52, has been charged with committing wire fraud in connection to his elaborate scheme to defraud investors in luxury real estate developments in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Westchester and elsewhere.
D'Alessio is the former president and CEO of real estate development firm Michael Paul Enterprises in White Plains.
A career real estate developer and contractor, D’Alessio was the CEO of an investment and development firm specializing in the design, construction and management of residential and commercial real estate properties.
According to Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, D’Alessio “typically followed the same pattern in each real estate project.” He would seek investments by offering shares of a newly formed company, named after the location of the parcel of real estate to be developed and sold. In exchange for a purchase of shares in the company, D’Alessio promised a guaranteed monthly interest payment and a share in the profits from the property.
The scheme began in 2015 and lasted until April of this year.
In soliciting investors, D’Alessio allegedly made several representations to potential investors, including that investor funds would be used only to develop the property and cover related expenses. Instead, for years, D’Alessio misappropriated his investors’ money for his own use.
Berman said that D’Alessio channeled the money through a series of bank accounts that were listed in the name of shell companies that he owned and controlled. He then used the investors’ money to pay off debts and to fund gambling and other expenses. He also took additional steps to conceal his alleged fraud by deceiving investors about the development of real estate projects and “raising money from new investors to make monthly payments to investors in different projects in the manner of a Ponzi scheme.”
D’Alessio was arrested on Thursday and charged with committing wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
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