New Jersey Investment Adviser Who Pleaded Guilty to $11.5M Financial Fraud Gets 168-Month Prison Sentence

Sandra Venetis, a New Jersey investment adviser has been sentenced to 168 months behind bars. Venetis had entered guilty pleas to che charges of securities fraud and transacting in criminal property. She also must pay $11,579,781 in restitution to the investors she defrauded.

The government had accused Venetis, who owns Systematic Financial Associates Inc., of soliciting her financial firm’s clients so that they would put their money in an “alternative investment program” that she ran separate from her registered investment advisory business. This was between 1997 and 2010. To get these clients to invest, she falsely told them the money was being used to pay for loans for doctors’ quarterly pension funds. There were even occasions when Venetis would tell these clients to liquidate their positions in securities so they could take part in her alternate program. 114 clients sent her about $16.7M.

None of the investors’ money went to any doctors-although she did make up fictitious physicians and forged real doctors’ names on promissory notes to make it look as if she was using her clients’ money in the manner promised. Venetis has admitted that not only did she not run a legitimate alternative investment program, but also that she created Systematic Financial Services Inc. so that she could run her financial scam. She acknowledges that she used some of the investor money to help cover her advisory’s operation costs.

It was last year that Venetis and three of her firms, Systematic Financial Services, LLC, Systematic Financial Services, Inc., and Systematic Financial Associates, Inc., settled SEC charges over the multimillion-dollar financial fraud. The Commission said that Venetis and her companies violated sections of the Securities Act of 1933, Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Relief defendants included Venetis LLC, which Venetis also owned and operated, her brother Kevin Persley, and her daughter Jennifer Venetis.

The Commission accused Venetis of telling investors that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had guaranteed promissory notes that would make about 6-11% tax-free interest annually. Although investors believed their investments were paying for loans to doctors the money paid for Venetis’s business debts and personal spending, including travel abroad, property taxes, home mortgages, gambling, and money for relatives.

Venetis and the companies settled the charges and all agreed to the relief sought by the SEC, including enjoinment from future securities law violation, payment of disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, financial penalties, and appointment of an independent monitor.

N.J. IA Sentenced to 168 Months After Pleading Guilty in $11.5M Fraud, BNA Securities Law Daily, September 12, 2011

More Blog Posts:
FINRA Tells Congress It Is Ready to Act as SRO for Investment Advisors, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 13, 2011
Investors Working with Incompetent Registered Investment Advisers Have Few Protections, Reports Bloomberg, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 11, 2011
Harvest Managers, Benchmark Asset Managers, and Investment Advisor to Pay $11.6 Million to Settle SEC Charges Over Allegedly Mishandled Client Funds, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, July 23, 2011
SEC Extends Temporary Rule Allowing Principal Trades by Investment Advisers Registered as Broker-Dealers, Institutional Investment Fraud Blog, January 13, 2011
If you are one of the investors who lost money because of investment adviser fraud, you should talk to a stockbroker fraud law firm right away. You may be able to recover some, of not all, of your losses. There is no reason you have to suffer because a member of th financial industry engaged in fraud.