NYU scam artist out on bond

0

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A former college student who posed as a Turkish heir and persuaded sophisticated investors to pour millions into a nonexistent hedge fund was released on bond Friday.

Hakan Yalincak’s release on $1.1 million bond until his Feb. 14 sentencing followed three unsuccessful bond requests. Yalincak, 22, said he asked again because his mother, who also pleaded guilty in the scheme, is being treated for what appears to be cancer.

“This has been a learning experience,” said Yalincak, who pleaded guilty in June to bank and wire fraud and faces up to 50 years in prison.

The former New York University student admitted to using his student ID and expertly forged documents to pose as the heir to a billionaire Turkish family and trick investors into giving him millions of dollars for the fake fund.

Prosecutors say Yalincak charmed his way into the exclusive world of Greenwich high finance, shuttled counterfeit checks across the world and brokered deals with a Kuwaiti financier. Prosecutors said investors lost more than $7 million, an amount he contests.

Yalincak’s mother, Greenwich mortgage broker Ayferafet Yalincak, admitted helping him recruit investors and faces up to five years in prison.

Yalincak and his attorney, Bernard Grossberg, said others may be charged in the case.

His bond was ordered by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.

Yalincak may have been able to entice investors, but the mechanics of setting up a fake hedge fund required sophisticated expertise, Grossberg said.

“As the case develops, you’ll probably see individuals who are significantly older than me,” Yalincak said. “I made regrettable choices, mistakes when I worked with those people.”

Prosecutors said the investigation was continuing. They had asked for a brief delay in sentencing to allow more time to talk to Yalincak.

Yalincak has had a “rough time” in prison, Grossberg said last week, citing unspecified incidents. He said Yalincak was distraught at times and has been taken to the hospital for treatment.

After he was released Friday, Yalincak showed a long scar on his arm. He declined to say what happened, saying that would await his sentencing.

Yalincak said he wanted to be an attorney, but cannot now because of his criminal record.

“I hope to do what I can to rehabilitate myself and move on with life,” Yalincak said.

Prosecutors expressed concerns that Yalincak was a flight risk. Yalincak will be under house arrest, must undergo psychological counseling and can talk to his mother by telephone and, depending on circumstances, may be allowed to visit her.

Grossberg said the 21 months his client has been in prison may approach the sentence he ultimately receives if he is given credit for cooperating with authorities.

Yalincak also has a grievance pending against his first attorney, Michael Sherman, over the fees he charged. Sherman said he charged $175,000 for a case that stretched nearly two years and wound up giving back $50,000.

“I make no apologies for the size of that fee, which is totally appropriate,” Sherman said. “I am very confident the grievance committee will deal with it quite fairly.”

Advertisement
SHARE