Manhattan - (WALK) A former attorney from Wading River is accused of swindling real estate investors out of nearly $4 million, according to prosecutors in Manhattan Thursday.
Alice Belmonte, 47, allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme between the months of August, 2011 and January 2012 using forged bank records and records of property sales to swindle ten investors by promising "quick, high" profits in foreclosed properties.
Instead, as investors placed funds in an escrow account for purchaces, Belmonte diverted the dollars into her own accounts and or paid previous investors in classic Ponzi fashion, according to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Investigators used a search warrent to enter Belonte's home, and reportedly found documents about offshore bank accounts and evidence she spent $77,000 on hotels in California, and purchased two cars in California valued at $100,000.
Belmonte pleaded not guilty to charges of grand larceny and idenity theft at her arraignment in Manhatten Thursday. Her bail wa set at $3 million cash or bond. Belmonte surrendered her licence to practice law in February.
Photo: Chris Palmer