A former New York attorney who also claimed to be a trained exorcist and bishop was sentenced
to 11 years for his role in a Ponzi scheme that duped investors out of over $6
million. James Lagona received the sentence from United States District Judge
William M. Skretny, who dismissed Lagona's claims that he was unaware of the
fraud being perpetrated by the purported scheme mastermind, Guy Gane. Lagona also
late last year after he offered a "quid pro quo" bargain to
prosecutor Wiliam J. Hochul's wife, who was then a candidate for Congress,
offering to throw his support behind her in exchange for favorable treatment by
her husband at his upcoming sentencing. Hochul contacted the FBI, and Lagona
was subsequently arrested.
Lagona was an employee at Gane's company, Watermark M-One
Financial Services ("Watermark"). Potential investors were promised
10% annual returns from waterfront real estate investments, and were provided
with 'debentures' evidencing their investment as proof. However, Gane made no
such investments, and instead used investor funds for a variety of unauthorized
uses that included Ponzi-style payments to existing investors, personal and
business expenses, and cash advances to his children.
While Gane cut a deal with prosecutors, Lagona maintained
his innocence and chose to stand trial with another co-defendant, Ian Gent. The
decision backfired, as Gane testified against the two and a federal jury
convicted the men on conspiracy and money laundering charges in February 2011. Gane
was subsequently sentenced
to a thirteen-year term in September 2011, and Gent received
an eight-year sentence in late 2012.
A bizarre interview featuring "Bishop" Lagona
offering fortune-telling to live callers is available here.
According to the bio provided by the site,
Bishop Lagona, an accomplished medium, healer and medical
intuitive, has had psychic-mediumistic experiences since his early childhood.
He is a Reiki Master/Teacher, and has studied psychism and mediumship, various
healing modalities and energy work, crystals, dowsing, and tarot. Bishop Lagona
consults with and advises various businesses and corporations on internal
policies and concerns, hiring and personnel matters, stock market, Dow
Jones Average and foreign currency exchange rate forecasts and predictions.
He is available for your private and business consultations.
Not surprisingly, the emphasized claims were removed from 'Bishop' Lagona's bio on his
For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit
Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.
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