DA Indicts Mount Sinai Man in $500,000 Ponzi Scheme

DA Indicts Mount Sinai Man in $500,000 Ponzi Scheme

District Attorney Tim Sini (D). File photo by Victoria Espinoza

A Mount Sinai man was arrested and indicted Friday, June 12 for allegedly perpetuating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded over $500,000 from investors, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said.

District Attorney Tim Sini (D) said in a release that Craig L. Clavin, 61 of Mount Sinai, with his company Lighthouse Futures Ltd. allegedly solicited investments into an investment fund called the Lighthouse Futures Commodity Pool, managed by the company, which would participate in the commodities market. The D.A. said he would then allegedly promise investors the guaranteed return of their investment in full by the end of each year with an option to roll the funds over into the next year.

“As with any Ponzi scheme, this was a scam built on greed and deceit,” District Attorney Sini said. “The defendant bilked his own friends and associates out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, promising to turn their hard-earned savings into solid investments. Instead he used some of their money to further the scheme, and used the rest to line his own pockets.”

The D.A. also alleged that between 2012 and 2017, Clavin received in excess of $500,000 dollars from investors for the purpose of investing the funds into commodities. Clavin allegedly misappropriated the majority of those funds for his personal and unrelated business use, including making payments on his credit cards, student loans, insurance and everyday expenses. Clavin then allegedly concealed his theft by fabricating documents and otherwise representing to the investors that they were earning “dividends” and profits on their investments. At least between 2013 and 2016, Clavin allegedly used money from investors to pay back the funds to other investors, misrepresenting that the funds were “returns” on their investments.

Anthony La Pinta, of the Hauppauge-based Reynolds, Caronia, Gianelli & La Pinta P.C., is representing Clavin. 

“Mr. Clavin is a well respected and admired member of the community,” the attorney said. “We have undertaken our own investigation into these allegations.”

The indictment comes after a D.A.-led investigation that ran in conjunction with U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the National Futures Association investigations, according to the D.A. release.  

The parallel investigation by the CFTC resulted in an action to sue Clavin and Lighthouse that was filed yesterday in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Clavin was issued a summons on that case Thursday, June 11.

Clavin was arraigned yesterday by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro and was released. He is due back in court June 29.

Clavin has been previously named in a past TBR News Media article as an owner of Billie’s 1890 Saloon in Port Jefferson. The building is now owned by the Phillips family, the original owners of the bar and grill.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Yana G. Knutson, of the Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.

Sini urged anyone who believes he or she is a victim of this scheme to call the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau at 631-853-4232.