Soccer Leader Charged In $5M Scheme
Robert Rocco, a Dix Hills resident and past president of the Dix Hills Soccer Club, was indicted on 14 counts of fraud on Dec. 10 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Rocco, who oversaw the intramural youth soccer league, was arrested and arraigned in Central Islip after an investigation led by U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch revealed the soccer dad allegedly stole $66,915 from the club and deposited it into a separate account called Limestone Capital Services. Immediately after the wire transfer, Rocco, authorities allege, told another member of the club that the soccer league “had no funds left to operate.” In April 2010 the other member, referred to as “John Doe 1” in records, deposited $20,000 of his own money into the soccer club account and, later that same year, deposited an additional $25,000.
A spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn said Rocco pled not guilty to the charges of wire and mail fraud and was released on $500,000 bond.
Current soccer club President Martin Targett, in an email sent to members of the club, told families that “immediate steps” have been taken to protect funds in the club account and begged members for their continued trust and support in the future.
“If convicted of this crime, I find it deplorable that someone entrusted by a community to a position such as president in an organization that exists solely to serve that very same community, can commit such an act against its own members,” Targett said in the letter, obtained by The Long-Islander. “Many of you may ask the question, how did this happen and how could others let it happen? I assure you there will be investigations and there will be a lot of soul searching.”
Lynch said in a press release that Rocco “solicited club members and volunteers, friends and neighbors, to invest money in a series of businesses… that Rocco claimed would earn high rates of return on investments” as high as 18 percent.
Rocco in 2006 founded Limestone Capital Services, a corporation registered with New York State, and operated his biddings from a Broadhollow Road office complex in Melville.
After allegedly convincing friends and neighbors, including “John Doe #1” and a “John Doe #2” named in the case – as well as an extended network of clients who invested in Limestone based on John Doe’s advice – to invest in Limestone Capital, Rocco received approximately $5 million in investor money between 2006 and 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Limestone, Rocco allegedly told investors, was a business venture that would provide loans to finance wholesale cigarette purchases on behalf of the Shinnecock Nation tobacco shop as well as a credit card processing venture. Rather than investing the Limestone funds as promised, he instead “ran a Ponzi scheme,” according to the indictment, which also claims that Rocco in 2009 fraudulently reported to investors that “$4-5 million in inventory” had been stolen from the Shinnecock Reservation “by a rival Indian tribe.”
Rocco launched yet another investment company in 2010 and again solicited business from his friend John Doe #1, who in total paid more than $1.3 million to Rocco for purported investments in companies.
Rocco was charged with five counts of wire fraud from 2008 until as recently as July 2013 and was indicted on nine charges of mail fraud as recently as June 2013.
According to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman from Lynch’s office, Rocco faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.