A barred broker is facing charges of running a $1.2 million investment fraud scheme and fraudulently obtaining a Covid-19 relief loan.
Anthony Mastroianni, Jr., of Manalapan, New Jersey, entered the financial services industry in 2004 and was registered with Meyers Associates until August 2016, according to BrokerCheck. In December 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred him from the industry over his refusal to appear for testimony for the industry self-regulator’s investigation into allegations of excessive trading or churning in an elderly client’s account and borrowing $90,000 in funds from five customers without notifying his firms, according to his record.
Then, starting as early as 2017, Mastroianni allegedly sold promissory notes to at least 11 investors issued by his company, Global Business Development and Consulting, the Securities and Exchange Commission says in a complaint filed in federal district court in New Jersey. He allegedly convinced the investors — who ranged in age from 64 to 82 — by promising interest rates ranging from 50% to 175%, according to the regulator.
Mastroianni also allegedly “often convinced them to roll-over their notes into new notes combining unpaid amounts with new investments by the investors,” the SEC says.
Instead of investing the money, however, Mastroianni allegedly withdrew $486,000 of investors’ funds from Global’s bank account and spent some of them on luxury items, according to the regulator.
"We allege that Mastroianni preyed on older Americans with an all too familiar promise of massively high returns when in reality their money was being withdrawn in cash and spent on purchases at Disney resorts, Tiffany & Co. and Gucci," Sheldon Pollock, associate director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, said in a statement. "We will continue to hold accountable those who target investors for their own financial gain."
The SEC says it has charged Mastroianni and Global with fraud and is seeking disgorgement of the allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and permanent injunctive relief.
Mastroianni is also facing parallel criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, according to the SEC.
In that case, Mastroianni is accused of running an investment scheme of at least $1 million and with obtaining $96,300 from a federal Covid-19 emergency relief loan “by submitting a false and fraudulent application,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
As with his investment fraud scheme, Mastroianni misused the loan proceeds to make personal purchases and cash withdrawals.
Prosecutors charged Mastroianni with five counts of wire and mail fraud, each of which has a maximum prison sentence of 20 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offense, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.