A Jericho man was convicted Thursday of conning a Christian missionary school in South Korea of $5.5 million that he spent on luxury cars and a Las Vegas gambling spree in 2011.
A Manhattan federal jury found William Cosme guilty of identity theft and wire fraud following a week-long trial.
“William Cosme duped and defrauded a South Korean international school out of $5.5 million, money the school needed to carry out its mission of educating children,” said Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “Cosme then took this stolen money and spent it lavishly on himself, including on a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and a Cadillac Escalade, not to mention a 110-day gambling spree.”
Prosecutors said the 51-year-old claimed to operate a global private equity firm when brokered a deal to lend the school $55 million after the school deposited $5.5 million that he would invest on their behalf.
Instead of investing the money, Cosme bought a $314,000 Lamborghini, a $287,000 Ferrari, a Cadillac Escalade, blew $200,000 at casinos, paid his girlfriend’s rent and other lavish spending, authorities said.
He then made misrepresentations to the school’s leadership on why they didn’t receive their loan payments and concocted a scheme to convince the school that they defaulted on their agreement so he could keep the deposit, according to investigators.
Cosme faces up to 20 years in federal prison, three years of supervised release and fines when he is sentenced on June 21 by Judge Loretta Preska.