In 2004- 2005 I investigated $20K in what I thought was an investment company buying futures and options. In late 2005 I found out that it was a ponzi scheme after I couldn't get my money when I wanted it and reported the matter. The culprits were convicted by the then Attorney General Spitzer. There were given 3 -5 years and some of them were recently released from prison. I would like to go after them for some restitution and am looking for some advice on how I can go after the culprits. This is in NY.
Securities / Investment Fraud Attorney
Usually, when the perpetrators of a securities fraud plead guilty or are convicted, a restitution fund is set up by the prosecutors. You should contact the AG's office to find out if there is a restitution fund and whether it is still possible to participate in it. It is also common that people released from prison are broke, most of their money having gone to their defense team. so while you may arguably have a great claim against the perpetrators, your ability to collect could be problematic.
Also, you may have a timing problem. Under the federal securtieis laws, a securities fraud case must be brought within two years of discovery (but not more than 5 years after the fraud), and you discovered the fraud in 2005. It is now 2009.
Finally, the amount of your claim, while significant to you, is too small to make it attrative to a lawyer to take on a contingency and too expensive for you to hire a lawyer by the hour.
You of course should speak to a lawyer about the specific details, but it may be that your only practical option is to participate in a restitution fund, if there is one.