Former NJ Broker Joseph Orazio DeGregorio Ordered to Pay $1.08 Million in SEC Fraud Case

On May 5, 20,23, the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of New York rendered a judgment final against Joseph Orazio DeGregorio. DeGregorio was a former NJ broker. DeGregorio is prohibited from violating federal securities laws and additional remedies are imposed by the judgment.

According to SEC complaint, DeGregorio solicited about $1 million and approximately $205,000 from an investor aged 80 and three other elderly investors from October 2015 until March 2021. DeGregorio is accused of deceiving investors into believing that their money would be used to purchase promissory bills with an annual return guaranteed at 13%, and falsely claiming to invest it in two private businesses. The complaint claims that the promissory note was fictitious, and the money was actually sent to DeGregorio’s companies, which were created solely to facilitate the fraud, and engaged in no legitimate business activities. The complaint also alleges that DeGregorio used the majority of investor funds to pay for gambling and personal expenses, instead of using them for legitimate investment.

DeGregorio was charged in the SEC complaint with violating provisions of the Securities Act of 1932 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Court, on March 18 2022, issued a consent order against DeGregorio and enjoined his violation of the charged provisions. On May 5, 20,23, the Court entered an order by consent permanently barring DeGregorio from violating the charges. DeGregorio accepted to return $1,084,500 of ill-gotten gain, plus prejudgment interests. This amount was paid in accordance with the forfeiture and restitution orders issued by the criminal proceedings United States v. DeGregorio (22 Cr.). 030 (E.D.N.Y.).

Bennett Ellenbogen and Lindsay Moilanen conducted the SEC investigation, assisted by Elizabeth Baier. Sheldon L. Pollock, the Regional Office of New York, was in charge. Ellenbogen & Moilanen led litigation. The SEC is grateful for the assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District New York.

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Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC for short, is a US regulatory agency that has the primary responsibility of protecting investors and maintaining fair and effective markets. This is done by the SEC in a variety of ways:

1. Regulation and Enforcement. The SEC enforces federal laws such as the Securities Act of 1932 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which require that companies provide complete and accurate information to investors. The SEC investigates and takes action against individuals or companies engaged in fraudulent or manipulation practices in the stock markets.

2. Disclosure Requirements. The SEC requires that companies disclose relevant information to their investors. This ensures transparency and reduces the risk of false or misleading statements. These include financial statements, risks factors, executive compensation and other important information that could impact investment decisions.

3. Investor Education: SEC informs and educates investors on their rights and the potential risks of investing in securities. The SEC provides investors with resources, guides and alerts that help them make informed decisions about investing and avoid fraud schemes.

4. Registration and Oversight. The SEC oversees and regulates various market players, such as securities exchanges, brokerages, investment advisers and mutual funds. It conducts inspections and sets standards for protecting investors’ interests.

5. Market Surveillance – The SEC monitors the markets and investigates any suspicious activity to ensure fair and orderly trading. It uses data analysis and advanced technology to detect market manipulation and insider trading that may harm investors.

SEC’s overall mission is to protect and promote investors, encourage capital formation and maintain the integrity and transparency of the markets.

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