Alleged $102-Million Ponzi scheme involves two Rochester suspects

September 18, 2018 11:13 PM

Luxury cars and lavish parties... that's how the United States Securities and Exchange Commission claims five men -- two from Rochester -- spent millions of investor money.

The alleged $102-million Ponzi scheme left 637 people broke from coast to coast.


On Tuesday News10NBC tried to take our questions directly to Perry Santillo, the lead suspect that the SEC claims led the scheme.

Knocks on the door of his Greece home were unsuccessful with the person inside refusing to open the door.   

Santillo is one of five suspects named in the lawsuit, along with:

Chris Parris, 38, of Rochester 
Paul LaRocco, 55, of Florida
John Piccarreto, 34, of Texas
Thomas Brenner, 55, of Ohio

According to neighbors, Santillo would brag about having a lot of money. 

In the lawsuit, the SEC says he misappropriated $13-million of investor money. 

New10NBC also attempted to track down Parris, but the Henrietta home listed for him was sold in the Spring and his phone numbers are disconnected. 

The new homeowner tells News10NBC that investigators have also come to the home at least 3 or 4 times looking for Parris as well. 

“The three principals who were running this scheme were living a rockstar lifestyle with investors’ money jet-setting to Vegas, New York and other places,” said Scott Silver, an attorney who represents dozens of victims. He says Santillo and Parris started the scheme in Rochester recruiting investors by word of mouth.

“We spoke with a number of people with a variety of connections to the principals in the scheme,” said Silver. 

Silver says the companies the suspects operated like Percipience, United RL and First Nationle, weren't registered with federal regulators. 

“These entities weren’t registered with SEC or FINRA, they weren’t stock brokers or registered investment advisors,” explained the attorney.

Now he's going after brokers who sold their client lists to the suspects, saying it shows they clearly didn’t vet the suspects either.


Beth Cefalu

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