Thursday, April 16, 2015

Michael J. Oppenheim, Ex-JPMorgan Chase Private Banker, Accused Of Stealing $20 Million From Customers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just announced charges against Michael J. Oppenheim, a New York City-based financial adviser. Oppenheim, who lives in Livingston, NJ, is accused of stealing “at least $20 million” from customers said an announcement from the SEC. The SEC claims Oppenheim, a private client adviser of $90 million in assets, managed over 500 clients.

According to a WSJ article, 48 year old Oppenheim was an employee of JPMorgan. Before working with JPMorgan he worked with Chase Investments and Merrill Lynch. Here's what JPMorgan had to say about the charges:
We are sorry and angry this happened. We always stand by our customers and will ensure no customer who had their money stolen will lose any funds related to this.
Oppenheim supposedly persuaded customers to invest funds in secure municipal bonds while using the funds to invest in Tesla, Apple, Google and Netflix. The funds were not deposited in a legitimate account, but rather in his account or in another account in his wife's name. He is also accused of fabricating statements to support the fraud.

“We allege that Oppenheim promised his customers that he would invest their money in safe and secure investments, but he seized their funds and aggressively played the stock market in his own accounts,” said Amelia A. Cottrell, in a statement. Cottrell is Associate Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.

The SEC is seeking disgorgement as well as disbarment. Oppenheim's wife is also named in the suit for the purpose of recovering funds for harmed investors.

If you like what you're reading, please join my mailing list to receive blog posts and updates as they occur. If you're an investor with all of your assets tied up in the stock market and cash, you might want to consider a few diversification strategies. Gold is the oldest asset in the world and it's inflation proof. Bitcoin is the gold standard for the cryptocurrency world, which is the fastest growing asset class in the world. Diversifying your portfolio into one or both of these assets can help to insure your portfolio against a stock market crash or inflation. Most importantly, it can help to safeguard the gains you've made over the last 10 years.

Please note that there are other companies that sell gold and Bitcoin on the market, and you should always do your research when making decisions about your portfolio. Just like your personal health, if you're planning on having major surgery, you need to get a second, and sometimes a third, opinion. You want to make sure your surgeon is good and has performed the procedure many, many times.  In the same way, you need to trust your broker and you need to make sure they are reputable. This is the process I used when looking for a broker to recommend.

Full disclosure: RegalAssets compensates me for everyone I send their way, but I would receive compensation from any company I chose to recommend. The only broker I'm recommending is Regal, primarily due to its innovative product offering in my favorite commodities - gold, precious metals and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. They also have a distinguished track record for success (see below).

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