U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 21988 / June 3, 2011
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. ASSOCIATION FOR BETTERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND LOVE, INC., ET AL., Civil Action No. 11-cv-3183 (FLW) (D.N.J.)
SEC OBTAINS EMERGENCY ASSET FREEZE TO PROTECT INVESTOR FUNDS RAISED BY ASSOCIATION FOR BETTERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND LOVE, INC. AND ANTHONY O. DEGREGORIO, SR. THROUGH UNLAWFUL UNREGISTERED SECURITIES OFFERINGS
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it charged Association for Betterment through Education and Love, Inc. (“ABEL”) and its principal, Anthony O. DeGregorio, Sr., age 81 and resident of New Jersey, with offering and selling securities in unregistered transactions and obtained an emergency court order to halt the offerings and preserve assets for investors. The Complaint also names Margherita DeGregorio as a relief defendant.
The Commission's complaint, filed in the District of New Jersey, alleges that ABEL and DeGregorio have raised more than $1.3 million through unregistered securities offerings since ABEL’s inception in 1989, obtaining more than $1 million in the last four years through offering purported “CDs.” According to the Complaint, ABEL’s purported purpose was to invest funds raised in securities offerings and use investment profits to pay a “guaranteed” return to investors, and donate a portion to charity. The Complaint alleges that ABEL and DeGregorio offered securities in the form of charitable gift annuities, without complying with state registration requirements, and offered purported CDs that carried above-market interest rates. The Complaint also charges that, at times, ABEL used the proceeds from new offerings of securities to make promised interest payments to earlier investors.
The Complaint charges ABEL and DeGregorio with violating Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act of 1933.
Judge Freda L. Wolfson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey issued a temporary restraining order, which prohibits ABEL and DeGregorio from committing further violations of the federal securities laws and places a freeze on their assets and the assets of Margherita DeGregorio. In its enforcement action, the Commission is seeking additional relief, including orders enjoining ABEL and DeGregorio, preliminarily and permanently, from committing future violations of the foregoing federal securities laws, and a final judgment ordering ABEL and DeGregorio to disgorge their ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and assessing civil penalties against them.