A former investment broker from Long Island has been accused of using a fake hedge fund to fleece friends and neighbors out of more than $1 million in a Ponzi scheme.
Rand Heckler, 55, of Glen Head, allegedly used his clients’ money – more than $1 million – to pay for his mortgage, country club membership and other expenses, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Heckler was arraigned on Wednesday, Sept. 30 in Mineola and charged with:
- three counts of grand larceny in the second degree (a Class C felony),
- grand larceny in the third degree (a Class D felony),
- scheme to defraud in the first degree (a Class E felony).
Heckler was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Friday, Nov. 13. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison.
“Rand Heckler allegedly duped friends, neighbors and complete strangers into investing their savings in a Ponzi scheme that fueled his extravagant lifestyle,” Singas said.
"Investment brokers have a responsibility to their clients, but based on these allegations, Rand Heckler cared only about his bottom line.”
Singas said that beginning in 2015, Heckler allegedly recommended to his friend and friend’s son that they invest in a hedge fund of stocks and securities that he was managing. The offer was only to be for Heckler’s closest 15 to 20 friends and associates.
Between December 2015 and January 2020, the victims wrote Heckler 24 checks, totaling $755,159, according to the criminal complaint filed in court.
During that time, Heckler allegedly showed them statements with the names of the stocks and the hedge fund account’s current value.
Heckler also allegedly showed them false trade confirmations as proof that the stock had been purchased, according to the complaint.
In January 2020, the friend’s son, who has power of attorney for his father, allegedly asked Heckler for $100,000 from his father’s account, part of which was for his children’s trust fund.
In February 2020, after several weeks of delay, he received the $100,000 via a wire to his bank account and was allegedly told the money was from the sale of shares in the hedge fund, the complaint said.
However, the Nassau County DA's Office said it discovered in May 2020, after receiving the case from the Securities and Exchange Commission, that the money was allegedly wired directly from another victim in February.
That victim, Heckler's neighbor, allegedly went to the bank with Heckler in February 2020 believing she was wiring a $100,000 life insurance payment from her deceased husband into the hedge fund, but she was wiring the money directly to the first victim’s son.
As this was going on, the victim believed she would receive monthly dividend payments from her investment and did not know there was a problem until NCDA investigators contacted her, the complaint said.
During the investigation, at least two other victims were discovered to have been allegedly defrauded by the defendant in a similar matter.
Heckler is alleged to have solicited additional victims by cold-calling people in other states and getting them to agree to invest.
Heckler allegedly spent the money on his mortgage, a country club membership, credit card payments and daily expenses like dry cleaning and phone bills.
In total, he allegedly stole $1,004,159 from four victims.
The Nassau County DA's Office said it also intends to charge his corporation Rand Heckler, Inc. at a later date.
Anyone who believes to have been the victim of investment fraud by Rand Heckler should contact the Nassau County DA’s Office Financial Crimes Bureau at 516-571-2149.
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