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Former Wall Street Trader Sentenced For Running $19M Ponzi Scheme

Wall Street
Wall Street Photo Credit: Vlad Lazarenko via Wikimedia Commons

A former Wall Street trader has been sentenced to over five years in prison after admitting to defrauding investors in a $19 million Ponzi scheme.

Long Island resident Paul A. Rinfret, 71, of Manhasset, had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud last fall.

This week, Rinfret was sentenced to 63 months in prison.

According to Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District Audrey Strauss, Rinfret alleged that he touted “extremely high returns in his trading,” when in reality he simply stole the investors’ money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

It is alleged that between 2016 and 2019, Rinfret offered potential investors the ability to invest in Plandome Partners through the purchase of limited partnership interests that were used for his own personal gain and for the gain of his family members.

"Paul Rinfret was brought to justice for callously lying to investors," Strauss said. "Rinfret told investors his investment returns were excellent, when in fact he failed to invest investor funds as promised, generated losses when he did invest, and diverted the majority of investor funds to his personal use and to repay investors in a Ponzi-like fashion."

Strauss said Rinfret claimed that Plandome Partners traded through certain brokerage accounts, one of which simply did not exist, and two of which were not open at a time when Rinfret claimed to be trading in those accounts.

Further, Rinfret used only a small portion of the victims’ invested funds to engage in actual trading,

Instead, according to court filings, he used most of the the victims' money to purchase luxury goods and high-end vacation rentals for himself and family members. 

He used the Plandome Partners account to spend almost $50,000 on a luxury Hamptons vacation rental, more than $40,000 on jewelry, and tens of thousands of dollars on the event venue where his son held his engagement party, the filings said.

Rinfret also sent fabricated brokerage account statements to the victims.  

In addition to his prison term, Rinfret was sentenced to two years of supervised release, ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $20,268,268, and to pay $12,290,803 in restitution to his victims.

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