In an unfolding drama last week, the U.S. District Court witnessed the Securities and Exchange Commission secure a definitive decree against a Connecticut-based finance consultant who duped no less than nine investors—some of them seniors—of over a million dollars. The resolution is the culmination of a long ordeal which sent the former advisor to a prison sentence exceeding seven years.
The District Court of Connecticut instructed Vaccarelli – the central figure in this financial scandal – to forfeit ill-gotten gain, including pre-judgment accrued interest of upwards of $1.5million.
In 2017, the SEC brought charges against Vaccarelli. The watchdog stated that at least nine clients, some of whom were older, had been caught in his web of deception.
The United States Attorney’s Bureau of the District of Connecticut argued that the fraud was even worse, with a total of twenty innocent victims being caught up in the ruse. Vaccarelli had promised to invest their money in investments that would earn interest. Vaccarelli, an ex-broker with The Investment Center and finance counsel at IC Advisory Services, had promised to direct their capital towards investments that would yield interest. He used a portion to settle his accounts with other investors.
The SEC claims that Vaccarelli forced one of his customers into signing a pact which prohibited her from sharing certain information with FINRA and the SEC.
A senior woman, a woman with mental impairment, a retired teacher, a former construction worker, and people from the medical profession were amongst those who suffered.
Vaccarelli was sentenced to 90 months in prison, followed by a period of three years under supervised release. The SEC’s decree follows an 11-day criminal trial against him that took place in 2019. He is currently serving his sentence at a federal prison in Massachusetts. He will also have to pay restitution of approximately $1.5 million by December 2020 as a result of a civil case.