Victims Of Scam By Buffalo Investment Advisor Receive Full $2 Million In Restitution

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that all of the victims of a scam run by a former Buffalo investment advisor have received full restitution.

All told, Robert Young stole $2 million from 14 of his clients, friends and family members between 1988-97. Five of the victims, who lost a total of $311,000, were from Western New York. Young promised investors a 9 percent return on their money, claiming the investment was "safe" and "guaranteed."

Last December, Young was sentenced to three-to-nine years in prison for his crime. He is serving his sentence at Five Points Correctional Facility, a maximum security facility in Seneca county.

"This case should serve as a lesson to investors and professionals in the financial services field, " said Spitzer. "Other than government bonds, no investment is 'risk free' or 'guaranteed.' Any investor should thoroughly look into the background of those who invest money for them, even if it's someone they know."

Spitzer noted that the public can contact his office, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the National Association of Security Dealers to see whether those selling securities are registered.

John Heine and his wife Joan of East Amherst lost $65,000 investing with Young. "You can't imagine how relieved we are and how much we appreciate all the work done by the Attorney General's office," they said. "There were lots of nights and days that we wondered if we would ever see our money again."

Of the restitution, $1.5 million is coming from GR Phelps, the assets of which were acquired by MML Investors Services, Inc., a Mass Mutual Company in 1996. Young worked for Phelps when the scam took place and was fired by the company in 1995. The remaining $500,000 will come from assets from the Academy Circle real estate project that Young was involved in.