The Unicorn is paying the price for his financial crimes.
Nicholas Baratoff Jr., a resident of the coastal village of Sea Cliff, N.Y., near New York City, paid $360,000 in restitution on Sept. 6 to an elderly Corpus Christi woman who invested in projects that were supposedly operated by a company with the French name of La Licorne SA. In English, it means The Unicorn.
Baratoff pleaded guilty in the 347th District Court in Nueces County to two counts of misapplication of fiduciary property. As part of his plea, Baratoff must pay an additional $865,000 to his victim over five years of probation. The woman is 89 years old.
Prior to sentencing, Baratoff had been in the Nueces County Jail since July 3 awaiting trial. He is 80 years old.
“The name of Baratoff’s company was based on a myth, and the projects he sold did not exist,” said Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles. “We are, however, extremely gratified that actual restitution has been paid to the investor, with more to come.”
“Paid restitution is not common in criminal cases, but obtaining it for investors whenever possible is a priority for this office,” Iles said.
Baratoff, working in part with a Corpus Christi man who solicited investments in La Licorne projects, told the victim in the case that La Licorne would invest in different sectors of the European economy, including oil and gas and real estate.
Baratoff falsely told the woman that investments made through La Licorne would be secured by a certificate of deposit at a bank in Spain.
State Securities Board enforcement attorney Angela Cole prosecuted the case in conjunction with the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office. The Corpus Christi Police Department assisted in the investigation.