NYC Scammer Indicted for Conning $1.8M Out of 5 Women

Nelson Counne, aka “Nelson Roth,” aka “Justin Roth,” aka the ‘worst boyfriend’ on the upper east side, 70, of New York, was in court and requested to be released on his own recognizance. Still, Judge Gregory Carro deemed him a flight risk and ordered him held on $150,000 cash bail or a bond of up to $350,000.

N.Y. District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Counne for stealing more than $1.8 million from five women through romance and investment scams.

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“As alleged, Nelson Counne’s sole source of income for the past eight years was money he swindled,” said District Attorney Bragg. “He allegedly fed lie after lie to women he falsely claimed to have a romantic interest in, enticing them with investment opportunities that never existed while using their funds to repay past victims, lure in new ones, and fund his lifestyle. We urge everyone to exercise caution when told there’s an investment opportunity that seems too good to be true. If you or someone you know has been a scam victim, we are here to help – call us at 212-335-8900.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, between December 12, 2012, and January 22, 2021, Counne stole more than $1.8 million from at least five women using the same romance and investment scam.

Counne met most victims through online dating applications using the alias Nelson Roth or Justin Roth. He purported to be an independently wealthy retired art dealer and investor with homes in London, Manhattan, and the South of France.

Nelson Counne

Counne presented each of the victims with a supposed investment opportunity. He refused to provide details, sometimes telling the women that the investment existed in a “gray area between legal and illegal” and sometimes hinting that he had access to inside information.

Among the purported investments Counne claimed he could access was Alibaba, as the company prepared to become publicly traded. A start-up company purportedly run by Counne and a former Google executive, which would provide an online lottery that potential college students could pay to enter for a chance to win tuition coverage.

Most victims initially hesitated, but Counne persisted until each agreed to invest.

After this initial investment, Counne sought additional financial support from each victim. He justified these requests by saying that the extra money was needed for investment-related expenses such as paying “fixers” to ensure that the deals were completed and paying salaries and housing costs for the staff of the tech start-up.

Counne claimed that his funds were tied up in the investments or that his accounts were frozen due to U.S. and European investigations into his financial activities. He promised to repay each victim their initial investment plus a substantial profit within a few weeks.

Ultimately, most of Counne’s claims were false. He does not own homes in London and the South of France. He has never traveled internationally and does not have a passport. He was not independently wealthy, and the only funds in his accounts were from victims of his romance scams.

Instead of being invested, the victims’ funds were used to make Counne appear wealthy to new victims and to repay previous victims who had detected his fraud.

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Counne is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.

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