2 More Agape Suspects Charged

Two more ex-employees of a convicted Long Island Ponzi schemer dubbed mini-Madoff have been indicted on federal charges that they allegedly helped their former boss rip off thousands of clients, authorities said.

Bryan Arias, 40, of Queens, and 31-year-old Shamika Luciano of Coram, who both used to work at Hauppauge-based Agape World Inc., will be arraigned on fraud charges Tuesday at Central Islip federal court.

“Even when the business ventures began to fail, the defendants continued to peddle lies and deceit to the investors in order to keep money flowing into the scheme,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Prosecutors said Arias and Luciano worked for Nicholas Cosmo, who sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison for ripping off more than 4,000 clients out of nearly $200 million by promising high returns on low-risk investments through Agape, which Cosmo founded in 2000.

Three other former Agape workers, 41-year-old Anthony Ciccone of Locust Valley, 37-year-old Diane Kaylor of Bethpage and 36-year-old Jason Keryc of Wantagh were previously indicted on similar charges. Those three have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Prosecutors said the newly named suspects, Arias and Luciano, received $1.7 million and $275,000, respectively. Ciccone, Kaylor and Keryc allegedly received $10.7 million, $4.75 million, $16 million, respectively.

The suspects allegedly helped Cosmo solicit new investors to Agape, which used the new money to pay returns to previous investors before the scam began to unravel.

The five suspects face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of each charge in the 21-count indictment.

Federal authorities said the investigation is continuing.