SEC Charges Former Broker for Stealing from Elderly Investors
Litigation Release No. 25339 / March 2, 2022
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Joseph Orazio DeGregorio, No. 1:22-cv-01102 (E.D.N.Y. filed March 1, 2022)
Yesterday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former broker with defrauding several elderly investors of more than a million dollars over a five-year period.
The SEC's complaint alleges that Joseph DeGregorio, 45, of Freehold, NJ, solicited $1.2 million dollars from four investors, ages 78 to 94, by claiming that he would invest their funds in two private companies and in a promissory note with a guaranteed 13% annual return. According to the complaint, the promissory note was fake, and the private companies - which did not carry out any real business activities - were created by DeGregorio to facilitate his fraud. As alleged, DeGregorio stole most of the investors' money, and used a portion of the funds to repay investors in a Ponzi-like fashion.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charges DeGregorio with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. DeGregorio has agreed to settle with the SEC and be enjoined from future violations of the charged provisions. The settlement is subject to court approval; disgorgement, prejudgment interest and a civil penalty will be determined by the court at a later date.
Seniors are often the target of fraud and can find additional information on how to protect themselves at Investor.gov.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York yesterday filed criminal charges against DeGregorio.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Vanessa De Simone and Bennett Ellenbogen, and supervised by Lara Mehraban, all of the New York Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Mr. Ellenbogen. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.