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National Realty Investment Advisors (NRIA) Ponzi Scheme

The president and a top officer of a real estate investment company were charged for their roles in a scheme to defraud more than 2,000 investors in a $650 million Ponzi scheme, and with conspiring to evade $26 million in tax liabilities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Thomas Nicholas Salzano, aka “Nicholas Salzano,” 64, of Secaucus, New Jersey, and Rey E. Grabato II, 43, of Hoboken, New Jersey, and the Republic of the Philippines, are charged in an 18-count indictment unsealed Oct. 12, 2022, with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Salzano is also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of tax evasion, and five counts of subscribing to false tax returns.

Salzano was arrested Oct. 12, 2022, and is scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre. Grabato remains at large.

Arthur S. Scuttaro, 62, of Nutley, New Jersey, the former head of sales at National Realty Investment Advisors LLC (NRIA), pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Evelyn Padin in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in the same scheme. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2023.

The defendants executed their scheme through an aggressive multi-year, nationwide marketing campaign that involved thousands of emails to investors; advertisements on billboards, television, and radio; and meetings and presentations to investors. Salzano led and directed the marketing campaign, which employed deception, material misrepresentations and omissions, and falsified documents to manipulate investors. The marketing campaign was intended to mislead investors into believing that NRIA was a solvent business that generated significant profits. In reality, NRIA generated little to no profits and operated as a Ponzi scheme, which was kept afloat by new investors. Despite investing almost none of their own capital into the business, the defendants misappropriated millions of dollars of investor money.

Investors who lost money in National Realty Investment Advisors (NRIA) should consider all of their options in determining whether investment losses are recoverable.