A suspected member of the Bonnano organized-crime family, and half a dozen others, were arrested in a dawn raid June 9, quickly followed by a search and seizure of an alleged “boiler room” operation in Manhattan’s Garment District. The main suspect, described by law-enforcement officials as a Bonnano soldier, was accused of masterminding an alleged 10-year investment scam that hoodwinked mostly elderly investors out of more than $12 million. In total, 13 people were indicted in the case. The main suspect and seven others arrested in New York June 9 pleaded not guilty at a hearing in Manhattan. One person was expected to appear in court in Pennsylvania, another was scheduled to appear in a Florida court, and two others were expected to surrender at a later date, law enforcement officials said. One person remained at large. In a boiler-room scam, brokers typically use high-pressure sales tactics, usually by telephone, to induce potential clients to invest. According to the June 9 criminal indictment, the main suspect and his co-defendants allegedly pressured mostly elderly investors into buying shares in several companies — including a Florida online-broadcast provider called Realcast, which allegedly used the operation to solicit investors. At least 40 percent of the money from investors was allegedly used to pay “commissions” to members of the purported boiler room.
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