SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Operator of Ponzi Scheme Targeting Retail Investors

Litigation Release No. 24487 / June 4, 2019

Securities and Exchange Commission v. James E. Hocker, No. 18-cv-01251 (M.D. Pa.)

On May 31, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against James E. Hocker, a Bellefonte, Pennsylvania insurance agent charged with stealing nearly $1.5 million in a Ponzi scheme targeting retail investors.

On June 21, 2018, the Commission filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania charging Hocker with securities fraud. According to the SEC's complaint, Hocker falsely promised investors guaranteed returns of between 10% and 30% from investments he would make on their behalf in the S&P 500 and other unspecified investment vehicles. In actuality, however, Hocker did not invest any of the investors' funds. Instead, he used the money for his own personal expenses.

Hocker previously pled guilty to criminal charges filed in a parallel criminal action by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. On April 26, 2019, Hocker was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,495,782 for defrauding investors.

The final judgment against Hocker enjoins him from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and orders him to pay disgorgement of $1,495,782. The monetary judgment will be deemed satisfied by the restitution ordered in the criminal action.