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Ex-Janney Rep Arrested, Charged With Stealing Over $400K From Clients

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A former Janney Montgomery Scott advisor and broker was arrested Wednesday in Dix Hills, New York, accused of stealing more than $400,000 from his former clients and using the funds to pay his personal debts and expenses, including casino gambling debts and credit card bills, according to Seth D. DuCharme, acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

A criminal complaint was unsealed the same day in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, charging Apostolos Pitsironis with defrauding his ex-clients. He was expected to make his initial appearance via videoconference Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.

Pitsironis was with Janney from 2018-2019, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. But he was discharged in June 2019 after an “internal investigation uncovered that the FA transferred funds via unauthorized ACHs from a client’s account to a third party bank account owned and controlled by” Pitsironis, according to a disclosure by Janney on the report.

“Janney is committed to serving our clients with the utmost integrity and trust,” the firm said in a statement provided to ThinkAdvisor. “Upon discovering the improper actions taken by this advisor with one client account, he was promptly terminated and the client was fully reimbursed. Janney has fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so.”

Without admitting or denying the findings against him, Pitsironis signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Aug. 28, 2019, in which he agreed to be barred from the industry for converting $411,000 in client funds. FINRA accepted the letter Sept. 9, 2019.

Prior to Janney, Pitsironis worked for Wells Fargo Clearing Services from 2012 to 2018, RBC Capital Markets from 2008 to 2012, Janney from 2001 to 2008 and Morgan Stanley form 1996 to 2001, according to BrokerCheck. There are nine disclosures in all during his 22-year career on his BrokerCheck report, which also shows he is no longer registered as a broker or advisor.

More Details

Pitsironis allegedly transferred more than $400,000 from the investment account of a couple who trusted him to manage their portfolio directly into his own bank account, according to the complaint.

“He later used this money to pay his family’s personal expenses, all the while deceiving both his victims and the financial services firm for whom he worked,” DuCharme said in announcing the complaint and the defendant’s arrest.

In about 2009, Pitsironis, while working at a financial services firm office in Melville, New York, started managing the investments of “Victim-1” and “Victim-2,” a married couple who lived on Long Island, according to the complaint.

Between May 2, 2019 and June 11, 2019, Pitsironis initiated 22 transfers totaling about $411,000 from one of the victims’ investment accounts to a bank account in the defendant’s own name at another financial institution, the complaint alleged.

Pitsironis then falsely told the financial services firm he worked for (Janney, although not named in the complaint) that Victim-2 owned the bank account receiving the funds and that Victim-2 had authorized the transfer of funds to that account, according to the complaint.

Pitsironis then transferred the stolen funds to other bank accounts that he controlled and used the stolen money to pay for his family’s personal expenses that included casino gambling debts, credit card bills and the lease of a luxury car, the complaint alleged.

If convicted of wire fraud, Pitsironis faces up to 20 years in prison, according to DuCharme.

The defendant violated the trust his clients “had placed in him to manage their money safely and honestly,” DuCharme said in a statement. “This Office is committed to protecting the investing public from corrupt financial advisors like the defendant who put greed before their clients’ best interests.”