Last April Merrill Lynch hired stock broker Steven Mandala, giving him a $780,000 loan to lure him away from Maxim Group, where he was, they believed, a hot-shot partner who managed $300 million worth of assets. But now the firm says Mandala, 29, ran a savage burn on them, giving them forged pay stubs and tax returns to seem more successful than he was. Then, a week after depositing the loan into his parents' bank account, he bought a red Ferrari for $245,580. And as if the sight of an unscrupulous Wall Street guy throwing money away on a car wasn't shocking enough, Mandala "frequently did not show up at his new job and brought in only two or three clients with assets of about $20,000," says the Manhattan DA.

Mandala also made charges to credit cards he opened up in the name of his ex-girlfriend’s father, according to prosecutors, who indicted him yesterday on felony charges of grand larceny, money laundering, criminal possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records, and identity theft. Mandala resigned via e-mail at the end of June, and asked Merrill Lynch to throw out his personal effects. It was then that credit cards in his girlfriend's father's name were discovered—the D.A. says he used them to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Mandala's lawyer tells the Daily News his client's ex was responsible for the cards, because "she had a bone to pick with her own father." But what about the sports car? Yesterday prosecutors asked a judge to force Mandala to turn over the car as part of his bail, which was set at $500,000. But according to the Times, Justice Daniel FitzGerald decided that the Ferrari "doesn't matter as it relates to bail unless you believe he's going to drive off in the sunset with it."