Financial Fraud: WILLIAM COSME Guilty in Connection With a Scheme to Defraud a Christian Missionary School
Long Island Man Found Guilty Of Defrauding South Korean School Of Over $5 Million
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WILLIAM COSME, a/k/a “William Cosmo,” was found guilty today in Manhattan federal court in connection with a scheme to defraud a Christian missionary school in South Korea of $5.5 million dollars. The jury convicted COSME on both counts with which he was charged following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As a unanimous jury swiftly concluded after 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. 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 in Las Vegas. Cosme now faces time in a federal prison for his brazen crimes.”
According to the Indictment, other filings in Manhattan federal court, and evidence admitted at trial:
COSME purported to operate a “Privately Held, Global, Private Equity family practice with a concentration on it’s [sic] own Family’s Private Wealth Management, Commercial [real estate], physical gold trade and Business Consulting.” COSME further claimed that the entity through which he did business “manage[d] family assets with a Net Asset Value in excess of USD $11b on a global basis” and that his clientele included royalty and the families of royalty. None of those claims was true.
In about January 2011, COSME, acting through his company Cosmo Dabi International Trading Group Inc. (“Cosmo Dabi”), entered into an agreement with a Christian missionary school located in South Korea (the “International School”) whereby Cosmo Dabi would lend the International School approximately $55 million and the International School would make a deposit of approximately $5.5 million (the “Equity Deposit”), which COSME would invest in order to generate funds to loan the International School. The International School sought to use the proceeds of the loan to expand its operations in South Korea.
In January 2011, the International School sent by wire transfer approximately $5.5 million to an account maintained by COSME at a bank.
Thereafter, COSME transferred the funds that the International School had entrusted to him into other accounts, including accounts in his own name rather than that of his company. From the other accounts, COSME began a run of unauthorized personal spending, including purchasing a Lamborghini costing nearly $314,000 (which itself was meant to secure COSME a preferred spot on a waiting list to purchase an even more expensive Lamborghini); a Ferrari costing nearly $287,000; a Cadillac Escalade; a sport utility vehicle for a family member of COSME’s; a 110-day gambling trip to Las Vegas; gaming losses while on that trip in excess of $200,000; paying for his girlfriend’s rent; and otherwise funding a lavish lifestyle. All the while, COSME failed to invest the $5.5 million as he had promised, and made a series of misrepresentations to the leadership of the International School as to why they had not been issued their promised loan payments. COSME also devised and executed a sham audit process in order to convince the International School that they were in default of their agreement and that COSME could keep the school’s deposit for himself. In connection with his fraud on the International School, COSME also used, without authorization, the identities of two individuals by falsely representing to the International School that these individuals were officers of Cosmo Dabi.
COSME, 51, resides in Jericho, New York. He faces a minimum sentence of two years in prison for his conviction for aggravated identity theft, and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for his wire fraud conviction. COSME also faces a maximum term of three years of supervised release and a fine of the greatest of $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense or twice the gross pecuniary loss to the victim. COSME’s sentencing is set for June 21, 2017, before the Honorable Loretta A. Preska.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding efforts of Federal Bureau of Investigation in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Noah D. Solowiejczyk and Martin S. Bell are in charge of the prosecution.