ALL IN THE SCAM-ILY


Identical siblings made a twin killing off about 30 friends and acquaintances, swindling them out of more than $2 million, prosecutors said yesterday. Makara and Tsele Nkhereanye got the cash by passing themselves off as sophisticated and successful stock whizzes, when in reality they were block-headed investors whose only talent was losing money, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

The pair preyed on working-class types who were unfamiliar with the stock market, and were able to rope in more and more victims by saying they were making profits of 10 to 15 percent on their investments, and at "one point claimed profits as high as 23 percent," prosecutors said.

"If a deal sounds too good to be true, it's probably not true," Morgenthau said.
The twins -- Makara has a geology degree from Princeton and Tsele attended Stanford -- started the scam in 2005, when they offered to invest some cash for a friend, the DA said.

The California-born con men's biggest victim was a plumber from White Plains, whom they soaked for $1.1 million, Morgenthau said.
The DA said the brothers -- who until recently lived with their mom in the East Village -- had been investing in the stock market for 10 years, posting bigger and bigger losses every year. He said they only once turned a profit, making a measly $5,000 in 2004.

The 38-year-olds both pleaded not guilty to grand larceny, forgery and securities fraud, and were ordered held on $2 million bail. They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.


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