NJ Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Fraud

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NJ Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Fraud

An ex-JPMorgan Chase financial advisor from Livingston, New Jersey pleaded guilty to embezzlement and securities fraud in connection to a $22 million investment fraud that lasted seven years. Prosecutors have called the scheme an elaborate “game of hide and seek.”

Michael Oppenheim confessed that he lied to his customers by telling them he would invest their money in low-risk municipal bonds. He also sent them false account statements that supposedly reflected those investments and the profits earned. Oppenheim however put the money into his own high-risk investments that performed poorly.

Oppenheim managed $89 million for about 500 clients.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara from Manhattan’s Southern District stated that Oppenheim used his customers’ cash to acquire cashier’s checks and then deposited the cashier’s checks in at minimum three online brokerage accounts he controlled at financial institutions other than JPMorgan Chase. He used the funds to trade in accounts he controlled as well as to pay for personal expenses, including a home loan and bills.

The SEC also filed a fraud complaint against Oppenheim, who lost most of the money in massively unprofitable options trading. According to the SEC, he usually lost the entire amount of each deposit on stock options that included Tesla, Apple, Google, and Netflix. The agency believes that if he did make money, he would wire the funds to bank accounts in his or his wife’s name. At minimum, one outgoing wire was used to pay off part of his mortgage, according to the SEC’s complaint.

After being with the bank since 2002, Oppenheim was fired in March after the fraud was discovered.

Having pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and one count of securities fraud, Oppenheim faces up to thirty years in prison. He also agreed to forfeit $22,432,375 and to pay $27,292,856 in restitution.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.

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