Updated: Friday, 26 Mar 2010, 7:29 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 26 Mar 2010, 5:24 PM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - New U.S. Attorney, Bill Hochul is coming out with both guns blasting.
He's taking aim at what he said is a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
A federal grand jury named three ringleaders in a 51-count indictment, charging 55-year-old Guy Gane, 50-year-old James Lagona, and 58-year-old Ian Gent in the black suit, with mail fraud and conspiracy.
Prosecutors claim the three defrauded as many as 50 investors out of nearly $6 million in a sophisticated Ponzi scheme at their Watermark Financial Services and M-One Holdings offices in Amherst.
U.S. Attorney, William Hochul explained, "The promise of 10% interest for a year. On another occasion, 2% interest per month. And the defendents, among other things, told the investors that they were going to invest water-front property."
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Gretchen Wylegala stated, "There were some letters that were sent when the fraud was under inquiry, by the company, falsely giving assurance that their money was safe, when in fact the money was long gone."
News 4 cameras were there in 2008, when federal investigators shut those operations down, on Sweethome Road in Amherst.
All three defendants were released from custody, without having to post bail.
Despite the millions of dollars they are accused of stealing, all three men now claim they can't afford their own lawyers, which doesn't set well with some of their victims.
Scam victim, Tom Campbell said, "I had $33,000 taken. Ya know what, that's a drop in the bucket compared to some people, who had a lot more taken."
At least one other co-defendant in this case has been convicted and sent to prison.
Another is reportedly ready to agree to a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony.