September 2, 2010

SEC Charges New Jersey Advisor With Fraud

Elderly clients bilked through promises of 'loophole' returns

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from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Using Solicitors to Attract Clients Rule 206(4)-3 under the Investment Advisors Act establishes requirements governing cash payments to solicitors. The rule permits payment of cash referral fees to individuals and companies recommending clients to an RIA, but requires four conditions are first satisfied.
  • Advertising Advisor Services and Credentials Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act contains the anti-fraud provision of the statute and ensures that RIAs’ advertising and marketing practices are consistent with the fiduciary duty owed to clients and prospective clients.   

Investment advisor Sandra Venetis of Branchburg, New Jersey, and three of her firms have been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating a multimillion-dollar offering fraud that involved the sale of phony promissory notes to investors, many of whom are retired or unsophisticated in investments

Venetis, whose Form ADV reflects that she is registered in four states, was charged, along with Systematic Financial Associates, Inc., Systematic Financial Services, LLC, and Systematic Financial Services, Inc., with unregistered sales of securities in violation of the Securities Act of 1933 and with violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The SEC alleges that Venetis made false promises to clients and others, using worthless documents and the lure of a return of 6% to 11% interest on funds that she then appropriated and used to pay for business and gambling debts, international travel, gambling, and property taxes and mortgages; she is also alleged to have channeled some of these funds to relatives.

Venetis has settled with the SEC on all charges, although the settlement is not final until approved by the court.

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