Developer accused of defrauding mother-in-law

July 27, 2012 08:30AM

A real estate developer is being sued by his mother-in-law for allegedly defrauding her of $10 million. Jonathan Winston, who the New York Daily News reported once said he would be “bigger than Donald Trump,” leveraged trust he had established with his wife’s mother, Annette Lorber, into managing her money, which he borrowed and stole, according to Lorber’s complaint.

Lorber said she trusted Winston to manage her finances, but unbeknownst to her, he used her money to invest in properties from Westhampton to Manhattan, including an apartment at The Plaza. He also tried to buy her Sands Point, L.I., home with loans from her that he never repaid.

Lorber claims Winston, who funneled the money through his firm called Winhaven, deployed an elaborate scheme to win her trust and affection. She only looked into the finances after Winston and her daughter considered divorce.

Winston did not comment to the Daily News, which noted that he was previously charged with being involved in a $50 million stock scheme with the Gambino crime family and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. He was ordered to pay $108 million in restitution but never did.

According to his website, Winston is developing residential homes in North Fork, a shopping center in the Hamptons and a mixed-use building in the city. [NYDN]