Monsey man loses $1.3 million in investment scheme

By Bill Heltzel

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The investment started with a $62,500 loan, grew as the stories became more elaborate and culminated in a Rockland County investor losing more than $1.3 million, according to federal officials.

Robert M. Kolaczynski, of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, committed wire fraud in an alleged scheme that ensnared a Monsey man from 2011 to 2012, according to an indictment filed Dec. 16 in U.S. District Court, White Plains.

The indictment and criminal complaint do not identify the investor, but a 2013 lawsuit in Pittsburgh identifies him as Mendel Pomerantz.

Kolaczynski’s attorney, Susanne Brody, was not available when contacted for a response to the accusations.

Kolaczynski asked the Monsey investor to become his partner in Royal Palm Capital and to help manage resort and vacation properties in Puerto Rico, according to the criminal complaint written by a U.S. postal inspector Greg Ghiozzi. The investor wired $62,500 to Royal Palm, as a bridge loan to pay personal and business expenses while Kolaczynski completed transactions.

Kolaczynski quickly asked for more and the investor loaned another $350,000.

Kolaczynski said he needed financing while he sought out more business opportunities, the complaint says, and he had to borrow funds because his own cash flow was limited.

The victim was becoming reluctant to lend more money without getting confirmation that Kolaczynski was actually working on transactions or could repay the loans, the complaint states.

Kolaczynski then asked the investor to find a nontraditional lender to loan $5 million to $6 million, from which he would repay the debt.

He claimed he owned a large parcel of land in Pittsburgh through an entity called Legacy Landings. He said the property was worth $58 million as a development for luxury homes and that it contained natural gas reserves worth $26 million.

“No one can stop me on project nor fight me at public hearing,” Kolaczynski wrote in an email to the investor. “I own it all! It was tricky but I had to do it that way to control everything.”

The investor wired another $50,000 and then $100,000 to Kolaczynski’s bank.

Kolaczynski faxed a document to the investor showing a retirement savings account with $65 million. The investor wired another $400,000, then $50,000, then $306,500 to Kolaczynski’s bank accounts.

In all, the Monsey man sunk $1,319,000 in the investments.

But Kolaczynski did not own Legacy Landings, according to the postal inspector, did not have a retirement account with $65 million and never repaid the unidentified Monsey man.

Pomerantz, the Monsey investor, sued Kolaczynski, Legacy Landings and Royal Palm Capital in Pittsburgh in 2013. He sued for breach of contract and other charges and claimed he had loaned $1.4 million to Kolaczynski.

Kolaczynski did not respond to the lawsuit, and a judge in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas issued a default judgment for nearly $1.7 million. In 2014, the case was settled as to Legacy Landings only.

Kolaczynski filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh in March, claiming $742,600 in assets and $685,249 in liabilities. He valued Royal Palm Capital at $10,000. Pomerantz is listed as a creditor.

 

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About the author

Bill Heltzel
Bill Heltzel has covered criminal justice, courts, government and sports – as a beat reporter and investigative reporter – for daily newspapers in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He worked for Bloomberg LP in training and sales. He joined The Business Journal in 2016.

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