A Rocky Point man has been indicted for allegedly scamming two dozen victims out of more than $700,000 in an investment scheme and spending the stolen money on personal expenses, including a family trip to Disney World, prosecutors said Thursday.
Matthew Gallagher, 37, is charged with multiple counts of grand larceny, identity theft, attempted grand larceny, scheme to defraud, petit larceny and issuing a bad check, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Gallagher’s attorney Richard Pellegrino, of Riverhead, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
“We have 24 people here who gave their savings to this defendant with the promise of sound investments only to be lied to and swindled out of their hard-earned money,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. “He was allegedly selling them on investing in business ventures that did not exist, and using their money to fund his own vacations and other expenses. It’s inexcusable.”
Prosecutors allege that Gallagher, between this year and 2017, promised his victims a high return rate for investing their money in several startup businesses. They included a legal marijuana farm in California; a Hamptons-based hard seltzer company; an audiovisual company that was being liquidated; an insurance agency that Gallagher claimed he was going to open; and a company he claimed to own called National Comp Advisors, a consulting business for insurance agents.
But instead of investing the money, prosecutors said, Gallagher shifted it to other victims, misrepresenting the funds as returns on their investments. He then used it for his own personal expenses.
Prosecutors said Gallagher used one of his victim’s credit cards to book airfare and lodging in Orlando, Florida, for a family trip to Disney World.
Gallagher was arrested on Nov. 27, 2019, and charged in connection with the alleged scheme with respect to three separate victims, but the DA’s office and Suffolk Police’s Seventh Precinct detectives’ squad continued the investigation and 21 additional victims were located, prosecutors said.
Suffolk Supreme Court Justice John Collins gave Gallagher supervised release with GPS monitoring at his Thursday arraignment and imposed an 11 p.m. curfew and prohibited him from traveling outside of New York state. He’s due back in court on July 13.