SEC and DOJ Charge Two Florida Men With Free Riding Securities Scam

Two Florida men are accused of defrauding investors and broker-dealers by allegedly not telling them that they didn’t have enough money or securities to pay for their stock trades. The US Justice Department is charging Scott Kupersmith with securities fraud and wire fraud, while the Securities and Exchange Commission is charging him and Frederick Chelly with involvement in a front-running scam to trade free of risk at the expense of broker-dealers.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey claims that Kupersmith engaged in free riding, which happens if a client sells or purchases securities in a brokerage account while lacking the money or securities to cover the trades. Kupersmith and his associates are believed to have facilitated the securities scam by setting up several brokerage accounts at financial firms in New Jersey and outside the state.

In addition to falsely representing himself as having a personal net worth of approximately $5 million, Kupersmith is also accused of made it appear as if he ran a Manhattan hedge fund with assets of up to $20 million. These misrepresentations allowed him to raise about $500,000 of investor monies, which he then used to cover personal expenses or pay principal and interest payments to earlier investors in this Ponzi-like scam.

The SEC says that Kupersmith and Chelly’s scam caused financial fraud allowed them to make $600K in illegal trading profit while broker-dealers lost more than $2 million as a result. The Commission says that the two men presented themselves as private investors or money managers.

They allegedly set up a number of accounts for corporate entities under their control in brokerage firms while buying/selling the same amount of the same stock in various accounts. Often, this would happen during the course of one day and with the intention of making money from the changes in stock price. The SEC says that Kupermith and Chelly would take the profits from the trades but that when substantial losses were likely, they wouldn’t pay able to cover sales they had asked for, which caused broker-dealers to take the losses.

The two men also falsely made it appear as if they had assets with a third-party custody bank even though they didn’t own the stock that they were selling and often didn’t have enough money to pay for the stock that they did buy. Share sale proceeds were then used to buy the same shares.

The two men used Delivery Versus Payment/Receipt Versus Payment accounts at the broker-dealers to trade. Te financial firms offered these accounts to the two men because they were under the impression that Kupersmith and Chelly had the money to cover their trades.

Read the SEC’s Complaint (PDF)

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In addition to charges filed by prosecutors and the SEC, financial fraudsters can be held accountable by the investors they defrauded. Contact our securities fraud attorneys today.