Sonn Law Group is investigating claims regarding Michael J. Oppenheim, who was associated with JP Morgan Securities from October 2012 until his termination in March 2015. Oppenheim, who previously was associated with Chase Investment Services (May 2004 to October 2012), is accused of stealing at least $20 million from his customers to fund his own brokerage accounts in a scheme that spanned more than three years, according to a complaint filed by the SEC. Further, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed announced that Oppenheim has been charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of embezzlement, one count of securities fraud, and one count of investment adviser fraud related to the scheme.
According to the allegations in the recently unsealed Criminal Complaint:
From at least March 2011 to March 2015, OPPENHEIM, a former investment adviser at the Bank, a global financial institution based in New York City, abused his relationship of trust with his clients in converting to his own use and benefit at least $20 million belonging to at least seven clients whose investment advisory accounts at the Bank he purported to manage.
In some instances, OPPENHEIM induced clients to consent to the withdrawal of hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of dollars from their accounts at the Bank, based on false and misleading representations that OPPENHEIM would invest their money in low-risk municipal bonds to be held in an account at the Bank. In other instances, OPPENHEIM simply withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients’ accounts without their knowledge.
OPPENHEIM did not invest these clients’ money in low-risk municipal bonds at the Bank as promised. Instead, after taking a client’s money, OPPENHEIM, without the client’s knowledge, used the client’s money to obtain cashier’s checks purporting to be remitted by the clients. OPPENHEIM then deposited the cashier’s checks in at least three online brokerage accounts OPPENHEIM controlled at financial institutions other than the Bank. OPPENHEIM used clients’ funds for his own personal use, including on-line trading in accounts he controlled, and to pay for personal expenses such as a home loan and bills.
In an effort to cover up his fraudulent scheme, OPPENHEIM provided some clients with fraudulent Bank account statements. The purported Bank account statements reflected bonds held by other clients of the Bank, but OPPENHEIM caused his clients’ names to appear on the statements in order to give the false impression that OPPENHEIM had purchased bonds on behalf of those clients, as he had promised. In a further effort to conceal his fraud, on several occasions, and without his clients’ consent or authority, OPPENHEIM withdrew funds from one client and deposited those funds into the account of another client.
OPPENHEIM continued the fraud until he was terminated by the Bank in March 2015.
“Investment advisers are required to act in the best interest of their clients. Oppenheim did just the opposite by allegedly taking advantage of those who trusted him. As alleged, he concealed their money in a game of hide-and-seek and personally benefitted from illegitimately obtained profits. Now that his actions have been exposed, he will be made to face the consequences of the justice system, ” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez in a written statement.
Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, JP Morgan Securities or Chase Investment Services may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Oppenheim’s customers.
If you were a client of Oppenheim and have suffered investment losses or financial irregularities, please contact Sonn Law Group to explore your legal options, Sonn Law Group is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies. To learn more, please call us at 844-689-5754 or complete our “contact form.”