Category Archives: Boiler Room

SEC Charges 13 with Fraud Boiler Room Scam Targeting Senior Citizens-Long Island

July 2017

Thirteen individuals from two Long Island-based boiler rooms were charged with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission who alleges that they made hundreds of thousands of cold calls, many of which targeted senior citizens.

The SEC press release makes quite a few shocking allegations and demonstrates just how far the unscrupulous will go to take advantage of the general public, for example:

  • It is estimated that over $10 million was scammed from innocent and unknowing victims.
  • A boiler room salesman allegedly claimed that Walt Disney Co. was buying into a company that would cause the penny stock he was touting to soar.
  • Victims were harassed and intimidated by sale personnel…One allegedly told a victim “Do you have any rope at home? If so tie a know and hang yourself or get a gun and blow your head off”.
  • The telemarketers would instruct victims to place trades and a specific price and number of shares and then the scammers would place opposing sell orders to dump their own shares.

Scott W. Friestad, Associate Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, added, “The defendants allegedly used boiler rooms and high-pressure sales tactics to swindle seniors into investing their life savings in microcap securities they were secretly manipulating for their own profit.  But, through a combination of technology and innovative investigative approaches, we were able to unravel the alleged scheme and prevent further investor harm.”

Defendants named in the SEC complaint are:

  • POWERTRADERSPRESS.COM, INC.
  • ELITE STOCK RESEARCH, INC.
  • ERIK MATZ
  • RONALD HARDY
  • ANTHONY VASSALLO
  • STEPHANIE LEE
  • JEFFREY CHARTIER
  • LAWRENCE D. ISEN
  • ROBERT GLECKMAN,\
  • MICHAEL WATTS
  • BRIAN HEEPKE
  • DENNIS J. VERDEROSA
  • EMIN COHEN
  • SERGIO RAMIREZ
  • ASHLEY ANTOS

If you were recommended to deal with any of these individuals by a registered stock broker, you may be able to recover damages from that broker’s employer. Call for details.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Boiler Room Stock Fraudsters Convicted by Miami Federal Jury

June 2017-Miami, Florida

A federal grand jury in Miami convicted five individuals for their roles in a boiler room securities fraud scheme that defrauded over 700 victims out of $23 million. Those convicted are:

  • Charles K. Topping, 40, of North Bay Village
  • Anita Sgarro, 54, Marina Del Rey
  • Charles D. Smigrod, 69,  Coconut Grove
  • Matthew W. Wheeler, 33, Miami
  • James W. Long, 60, Miramar

According to the press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, from April 2009-August 2015, the fraudsters used false and fraudulent claims to solicit victims through telephone cold calls to buy shares in Sanomedics International Holdings, a company that sold non-contact infrared thermometers for home health care for dogs.

The sales pitches touted numerous false statements such as: no commissions would be charged, the sales people worked for Sanomedics and that the purchases were safe and secure. Some victims were told that the “Dog Whisperer” was heavily invested in the company.

In addition, several of the defendants used a similar scheme to tout shares of Fun Cool Free (FCF), a company claiming to own a smartphone gaming portfolio with over 500 gaming applications.

Boiler RoomInvestopedia defines a boiler room as “A place where high-pressure salespeople use banks of telephones to call lists of potential investors (known as a “sucker lists”) in order to peddle speculative, even fraudulent, securities. A boiler room is called as such because of the high-pressure selling.”

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

SEC Shuts Down LottoNet Boiler Room-Pompano Beach, FL

March 2017

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the filing of a complaint against Florida based LottoNet Operating Corp. , its CEO David Gray and Joseph A. Vitale, a sales agent for the company.

The SEC alleges that they misrepresented to investors how their money was to be used. According to the SEC about 35% of the money raised was paid to boiler room sales agents and LottoNet allegedly siphoned investor funds for personal spending on clothes, a wedding and strip clubs.

Investors were touted $8,500 monthly returns for a $25,000 investment. About $4.8 million was raised.

The SEC says that Vitale raised about $1.4 million from investors using the alias Donovan Kelly in an apparent attempt to conceal the fact that he had been permanently barred by FINRA. According to his FINRA record Vitale was permanently barred by FINRA in 10/2011. Vitale was last employed in the industry by J.P. Turner & Co. 

Link to SEC complaint.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Robert F. Stefanelli-Alexander Capital Broker-Discloses Customer Dispute Alleging High Pressure Sales

January 2017- New York

According to publicly available records Robert F. Stefanelli , (CRD# 2566917) ,  a  stockbroker who is currently employed by Alexander Capital disclose a currently pending customer dispute.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In FINRA Case 16-3517, a customer alleges damages of $50,000 for high pressure sales and excessive margin use.

Stefanelli has been employed by Alexander Capital since 5/2012.  He was previously employed by Legend Securities and before that, J.P. Turner and Co. 

If you have questions about an account in an account handled by Robert F. Stefanelli , contact us to discuss your legal options.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Steve J. Pabon-Joseph Stone Broker-Discloses Pending Customer Dispute-Syosset,NY

July 2017- Syosset, New York

The FINRA records of  Steve J. Pabon,  a  stock broker who is currently employed by Joseph Stone Capital ,  disclose  a currently pending customer dispute and a prior termination from employment.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In a currently pending matter, a customer of Pabon’s former employer Craig Scott Capital, seeks unspecified damages and contends there was misrepesentation with regard to the commissons and or markup/downs charged, alleging that the representative agreed to no more than $99 on all trades.

In 1/2012, Pabon was discharged by Brookstone Securities who made the following statement on Pabon’s FINRA record: “1.Violated telemarketing rules by making cold-call to an individual whose phone number was listed on the FTC’s national do not call list. 2.Violated industry rules by using exaggerated and promissory language to induce a prospective customer to engage in a securities transaction. 3.Violated suitability rules by recommending securities to a prospective customer without first obtaining the customer suitability information.”

Pabon’s employment history includes:

  • Joseph Stone Capital                   since 8/2016
  • Rothschild Lieberman                9/2015-8/2016
  • Craig Scott Capital                       2/2012-12/2015

He also worked for Brookstone Securities , a firms that was expelled by FINRA in 10/2012.

If you have losses in an account handled or supervised by Steve J. Pabon you may be able to recover damages from his former employer through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Investors Capital Corp. Discloses 21 Regulatory Issues-Withdraws FINRA Registration

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2017-As of 11/18/2016 Investors Capital Corp is no longer registered with FINRA or a national securities exchange. In October 2016, Investors Capital was censured, fined $250,000 and required to pay restitution to customers in connection with the short term trading of unit investment trusts (UITS) and Steepener Notes.

ORIGINAL POST JUNE 2016According to FINRA records,  stock brokerage firm Investors Capital Corp.  discloses 19 regulatory events that are final and 14 final arbitrations. According to recent press, there are plans to shut down the company in the coming months.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Investors Capital Corp. is an independent full-service broker-dealer and has been a FINRA member since 1992. They are headquartered in Lynnfield, Massachusetts and employ over 500 brokers in over 300 offices nationwide.

During 2013-2014, RCS Capital Corp. (RCAP) acquired Investors Capital Corp. along with a number of other independent broker-dealers, including Cetera Financial Group. In early 2016 RCAP filed for bankruptcy and in spring 2016, Cetera announced that as part of its restructuring they would be merging Investors Capital and VSR Financial Services, known for its sales of alternative investments, into its Summit Brokerage Services unit.

Investors Capital Corps.’s recent regulatory events include:

  • 8/2014-New Hampshire regulators assessed a fine of $125,000 and required rescission of unsuitable sales of non-traded REITs. Regulators alleged that Investors Capital made telemarketing calls to residents in violation of FINRA telemarketing rules and sold unsuitable non-traded REITs.
  • 3/2014-FINRA alleged that the firm failed to have a proper process in place to ensure that prospectuses were delivered to purchasers of exchange traded funds (ETFs) and that the firm did not engage in training brokers about the features and risks of ETFs. A fine of $100,000 was assessed.

If you have questions about an account at  Investors Capital Corp., call for a no charge consultation.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Thomas Guerriero Sentenced on Oxford City Football Club Boiler Room Scam-South FLA

May 13, 2016

The Sun Sentinel reports that Thomas Guerriero, former director of British-based Oxford City Football Club was sentenced to 12 years and 7 months for his role in orchestrating a $6.6 million boiler room operation that has financially ruined the lives of many of the elderly victims.

Guerriero lived on Hillsboro Beach and operated his scam from an office in Deerfield Beach, FL.

Victims told the court at the sentencing that they were “cold called” and were tempted by promises of becoming millionaires. Investors who wanted to back out were physically threatened by Guerriero.

Seven others who participated in the scheme have pleaded guilty to related charges and will be sentenced in the future:

  • Diana P. Lovera, 32 and Victor Lovera, 28, of Deerfield Beach
  • Edward R. Sachs, 56, of Boca Raton
  • Joseph Loish, 59, and Frank Penaloza, 30, of Pompano Beach
  • Steven L. Goldstein, 60, of Sunrise
  • Steven Sharaf, 63, of Pembroke Pines

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870