U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. has announced that a federal jury has convicted Ian Campbell Gent, 58, and James F. Lagona, 50, of conspiracy and mail fraud.
Each charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and fines between $250,000 and $5 million dollars, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said the defendants assisted in an investment fraud scheme in connection with financial service firms M-One Financial and Watermark Financial Services Group which were owned by Guy W. Gane who pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme in December.
The firms operated out Amherst until May 2008 when federal agents executed a search warrant and the SEC filed a civil action in federal court. The scheme, typically referred to as a Ponzi scheme, involved promising high returns to investors on “debenture” investments or “promissory notes.”
While working for Gane, Gent encouraged the sale of debentures or promissory notes to pay off earlier investors. Lagona falsely assured investors that their investments were safe. It is believed that the losses suffered by the investors were more than $6 million.