Securities regulators filed charges Thursday against a financial advisor in New York accused of stealing at least $20 million from clients to fund his own accounts and use the money for “highly unprofitable” options trading.
The SEC alleges that Michael J. Oppenheim abused his role at JMorgan (JPM), and persuaded some clients to withdraw millions of dollars. He promised them he would purchase “safe and secure municipal bonds on their behalf,” according to the SEC.
“Instead, Oppenheim bought himself cashier’s checks and deposited them into his own brokerage account or his wife’s account that he controlled. Almost immediately after each theft and deposit, Oppenheim allegedly embarked on sizable trading of stocks and options including Tesla (TSLA), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Netflix (NFLX),” the SEC explained in a press release.
The advisor usually “lost the entire amount of each deposit,” the regulators add.