SEC Charges Florida Recidivists with Fraud and Registration Violations

Litigation Release No. 25363 / April 14, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Joseph Salvatore DeVito (a/k/a Salvatore DeVito) and Dean Anthony Esposito (a/k/a Dean Anthony), Civil Action No. 0:22-CV-60733 (S.D. Fla. filed April 13, 2022)

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against Boca Raton, Florida residents Joseph Salvatore DeVito (a/k/a Salvatore DeVito) and Dean Anthony Esposito (a/k/a Dean Anthony) for unlawfully acting as unregistered brokers and hiding their histories of securities law violations while soliciting investments in several unregistered offerings of securities.

According to the SEC's complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, from at least October 2016 through February 2019, DeVito and Esposito solicited and raised money from investors in a series of unregistered securities offerings by Property Income Investors LLC and certain related companies (together, "PII") through a cold calling campaign. The complaint alleges that, at the time DeVito and Esposito were engaged in marketing investments for PII, they were already each the subject of prior SEC permanent injunctions for violating the antifraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and were each barred from the securities industry. As alleged in the complaint, DeVito and Esposito deceived investors in the PII offerings by actively concealing from investors their significant histories of securities-related violations and that they were prevented from selling these securities due to their industry bars. The complaint alleges that DeVito and Esposito accomplished this by using pseudonyms in their communications with PII's investors.

The SEC's complaint charges DeVito and Esposito with violating the antifraud and securities offering and broker-deal registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and for violating prior SEC Orders against them. Specifically, the complaint alleges that DeVito and Esposito violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c), and 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b), 15(a)(1), and 15(b)(6)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, permanent conduct-based injunctions, penny stock and officer and director bars, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, civil monetary penalties, and a court order requiring DeVito and Esposito to comply with prior SEC Orders.

The SEC previously charged PII and various other related entities, and their principal officer with fraud and registration violations on June 7, 2021.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by David Staubitz, Mark Dee, and Crystal Ivory of the Miami Regional Office, and was supervised by Chedly C. Dumornay and Glenn S. Gordon. The SEC's litigation will be led by Alice Sum and supervised by Teresa Verges. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.