Following his guilty plea, a former New York City advisor was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for theft and scamming multiple investors and employees at his firm. Adam Belardino was sentenced this week in federal court in White Plains after pleading guilty last year to two counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresenting to a government agency.
According to his BrokerCheck biography, N.Y. Belardino is a former CEO of The Maddox Group who has also worked for MML Investors Services and MSI Financial Services. In May 2021, he was permanently banned from working in finance after an investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
According to the Department of Justice, shortly after establishing the Maddox Group in August 2019, Belardino persuaded a 64-year-old New Rochelle, New York client he had previously advised to sell portions of her investment portfolio and transfer it to Maddox accounts. Belardino paid the firm’s salaries and rent with the over $330,000 she moved to a Maddox account, as well as her own personal expenses and travel costs that she had incurred using credit cards.
The victim disclosed her desire to move her Maddox portfolio to a brokerage firm account in Belardino in September 2021. Until February of last year, the advisor communicated with the client and her family via email and text message, saying he was liquidating the portfolio to return the funds and providing documents detailing an upcoming wire transfer. He also deposited checks drawn on a Maddox account into the victim’s bank account.
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To make matters worse, the DOJ claims that Maddox’s bank account lacked the necessary cash to support the wire transactions and that the cheques on the account bounced. Belardino assured the victim’s family that his own family would repay the client if Maddox couldn’t pay, and he kept sending them proof that Mr. Maddox had the money to cover the funds.
In a second fraud, Belardino posed as an insurance company salesperson and helped a customer obtain a $1 million life insurance policy that was later increased to $18 million. The advisor registered for a $3 million policy with a different insurance provider on behalf of the client in April 2020, using false statements regarding the client’s income, net worth, and health. In August 2020, the business will increase the policy’s face value to $6 million.
Without the client’s knowledge or permission, Belardino also attempted to get her a third insurance coverage with a different business. Due to his exaggerations about the client’s income and health, the policy’s face value was increased from $5 million to $12.1 million by May 2021. Without informing either client, Belardino paid the coverage premiums and pocketed approximately $180,000 in commissions.
He allegedly plotted against Maddox Group personnel as well. Belardino established 401(k) plans for workers, but between November 2020 and August 2021, he illegally withheld over $8,000 from the salaries of four workers. Instead, he used the funds for personal expenses.
As of this writing, Belardino’s counsel had yet to respond to a request for comment.
Belardino was sentenced to 42 months in jail, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay over $501,500 in reparations.