U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22977 / April 23, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Vitale, et al., Civil Action No. 0:14-CV-60954-WJZ (S.D. Fla.)
SEC Files Action Against Former Stock Promoter Now in Prison for Lying to SEC Investigators
On April 23, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against defendants Robert J. Vitale ("Vitale") and Realty Acquisitions & Trust, Inc. ("RATI"), and relief defendant Coral Springs Investment Group, Inc. ("CSIG"). The Commission's complaint alleges that between 2004 and 2010, Vitale and RATI fraudulently raised at least $8.7 million from investors through four real estate securities offerings. According to the complaint, Vitale and RATI made numerous materially false and misleading statements and omissions concerning, among other things, the credentials and experience of Vitale and other purported RATI officers, Vitale's supposed reputation for honesty in the investment world, the safety of investing in RATI, and the ownership of the properties purchased with RATI investor proceeds. The complaint further alleges that Vitale also effected transactions in securities for the account of others without being registered as a broker in connection with his RATI activities, and, by so doing, violated both the unregistered-broker statute and a 2006 Commission Order that barred him from association with any broker or dealer. The complaint further alleges that no registration statement was on file with the Commission or in effect with respect to any of the RATI offerings or sales.
The Commission charges Vitale and RATI with violating Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Commission also charges Vitale with violating Sections 15(a) and 15(b)(6)(B) of the Exchange Act. The Commission seeks disgorgement of the ill-gotten gains related to these violations with prejudgment interest from Vitale, RATI, and relief defendant CSIG, and civil money penalties against Vitale and RATI.
Vitale is currently an inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. He was sentenced in September 2013 to two years in prison after being convicted of obstruction of justice and providing false testimony in the investigation that led to the SEC case filed today.The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Florida Office of the Attorney General in this matter.