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.