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New Jersey Securities Attorneys

New Jersey Investment Scams: Why You May Need a New Jersey Securities Attorney

New Jersey On June 24, 2019, Michael Siegel, formerly a registered representative with National Securities Corporation (CRD#: 7569) of Edison, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception. On September 13, 2019, he was sentenced to three years in state prison. What happened? According to a press release issued by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, Michael Siegel stole “$270,000 from an elderly couple by deceiving them into investing in a fictitious investment program.” Michael Siegel befriended an elderly couple and when he became a broker in 2013, he encouraged the couple to move their $2 million investment portfolio to his new brokerage firm. When he moved firms, the couple followed him. Michael Siegel convinced the couple to invest in what he called an “options” program and told them to make out their checks directly to him. Ultimately, the couple wrote him 49 checks totaling $270,283. He did not invest these funds; he used them for his personal enrichment. This is far from the first time that Michael Siegel has found himself in hot water. According to his BrokerCheck record accessed on October 11, 2019, Michael Siegel (CRD#: 1950871) was barred from the securities industry by FINRA after “fail[ing] to request termination of his suspension within three months of the date of the Notice of Suspension.”

This is far from the only time that New Jersey brokers have committed or allegedly committed egregious acts of financial fraud, many against vulnerable citizens. According to a September 6, 2016 press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, William Wells, a former registered representative with Promitor Capital Management LLC, was sentenced to 46 months in prison “for securities and wire fraud charges stemming from his scheme to defraud more than 30 investors, including friends, colleagues, and family, of more than $1.5 million through a Ponzi-like scheme, over the course of nearly six years until his arrest in October 2015.” He produced fake account statements and used investor funds to pay back earlier investors (a hallmark of a Ponzi scheme) and for his personal enrichment. Although he claimed consistently positive investment returns, the D.O.J. paints a different picture, calling his trading “remarkably unsuccessful.” Wells was very successful at defrauding investors, however. He used the money for private school tuition, car payments, and credit card bills, among other things.

These startling cases illustrate the stark reality that stockbroker fraud can happen anywhere, even in New Jersey. Fitapelli Kurta’s experienced New Jersey securities attorneys have worked with defrauded New Jersey investors and stand ready to help you as well.

New Jersey Bureau of Securities: Helping Investors Help Themselves

How does the State protect New Jersey investors? The New Jersey Bureau of Securities regulates the securities industry in New Jersey, investigates complaints against brokers and firms, and helps investors protect themselves from fraud. The Bureau provides educational resources to help investors protect themselves from fraud and investigates complaints against individuals and firms.

Part of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities runs an Investor Education initiative, providing fact sheets with information on how to avoid falling victim to a potential scam. Some of their provided resources are interactive, easily allowing investors to take an active role in their investments. The “Check Before You Invest” form lets investors document what securities products their broker is offering and where the securities are registered. The worksheet “When Your Broker Calls, Take Notes!” helps investors keep track of their communications with their brokers. The Bureau also issues news alerts to keep investors informed. On August 7, 2019, as part of “Operation Cryptosweep,” they ordered two cryptocurrency promoters—Zoptax and Unocall—to stop offering unregistered securities in New Jersey. To help New Jersey investors avoid fraud, they encourage investors to call the Bureau to make sure the securities they are considering are properly registered.

While the New Jersey Bureau of Securities provides many resources, there is only so much they can do. If you have been the victim of securities fraud, you should retain a New Jersey securities attorney.

Choosing a New Jersey Securities Attorney

Not all New Jersey securities attorneys are created equal. When choosing a New Jersey securities attorney, it’s important to retain someone experienced, knowledgeable, and thorough. We fit the bill, bringing the benefit of inside knowledge. Our securities attorneys have years of experience defending brokerage firms against investor claims; now, every securities attorney in our firm works exclusively on behalf of investors. Tapping into their years working for the “enemy,” our attorneys advocate and fight for wronged investors.

Most securities disputes are heard in binding arbitration before a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel. We excel in this venue. Though we cannot guarantee success, our excellent record speaks for itself, as our securities attorneys have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Both of our founding partners are SuperLawyers®, and our firm has received various industry awards—the Avvo Client’s Choice Award for Arbitration, for instance, as well as a “Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Our attorneys are regularly quoted in the media on investment-related issues, appearing in trade publications and national media, including the Wall Street Journal and ABC News.

Next Steps

If you fear you may have been a victim of securities fraud, please call a New Jersey securities attorney. Contact the experienced securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta, who have worked with investors from New Jersey. Whether you’re in North Jersey, Central Jersey, or South Jersey, we’re here to help you. Whether you’re from Newark, Trenton, Glassboro, Elizabeth, Cherry Hill, Princeton, or any other city or township in New Jersey, we want to hear from you. Our attorneys work on contingency: we only collect a fee from you if we can recover money on your behalf. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free case consultation.