Three men were arrested for allegedly scamming $5 million from investors in what the trio falsely claimed was going to be the next big social media website, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Kenneth Martino, 52, of Huntington, 54-year-old Timothy Mueller of Greenport and 32-year-old Jared Widman of Pennsylvania were each charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud.
“By using high-pressure sales tactics, including claims that ‘short-term funding’ was desperately needed to complete the project or it would fall apart, these defendants were successful in pressuring their victims into giving in excess of $5 million,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
The trio claimed their upstart platform was backed by Staples and Myspace, but the money they bilked from their victims was used to pay for luxury vehicles, golf club fees, tickets for sports events, gambling expenses and credit card bills—not building a business, prosecutors said.
Mueller and Widman each pleaded not guilty in Suffolk court. Martino was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. Judge Fernando Camacho set bail for Mueller and Widman at $250,000 cash or $750,000.