Phony Investment Adviser Sentenced To 16 Years In Prison
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Joshua Louis Rupp, 37, previously of West Olive, Michigan, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and five years of supervised release by the Honorable Hala Y. Jarbou, United States District Judge. Rupp pled guilty to committing securities fraud in November. The Court ordered Rupp to pay approximately $2.73 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme. Rupp is currently serving a state sentence for home invasion and assault with a dangerous weapon.
According to the plea agreement and felony information and other public records, from 2015 to 2019, Rupp recruited investors by posing as a licensed broker or trader who worked at one of two different brokerage firms. Rupp told investors that he worked under the supervision of fictitious persons at those firms, one of whom he claimed was his uncle. Rupp also told investors that the principal of the investments could not be lost for various reasons, including his choice of investments, trading strategy, and insurance. Rupp fabricated documents as part of the scheme, including false account statements, a fraudulent securities license, and business documents bearing the logos of the companies for which he claimed to work. Some of the documents stated that he had passed a securities trader qualification examination or that he was registered with the State of Michigan. These claims, and others he made to induce and retain investments, were false. In total, Rupp obtained more than $2.7 million from at least 19 investors, misappropriated more than $500,000 of investors’ funds, and lost most of the remaining funds trading securities.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Rupp on July 28, 2021, related to some of the conduct charged in the felony information. That case was stayed on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s motion pending entry of final judgment in the criminal matter.
“Joshua Rupp preyed on people close to him as well as other members of his community, convincing some of his victims to turn over hundreds of thousands of dollars to his care by lying to them about his credentials and the nature and status of their investments,” said U.S. Attorney Birge. “The Court’s sentence will protect the public and serves as a cogent warning to those contemplating similar schemes. I urge investors to carefully research the bona fides of anyone seeking custody of, or access to, their savings. The SEC provides one resource to do so, at www.investor.gov.”
“This defendant obtained millions of dollars through fraudulent means, misappropriated some of that money for personal use, and lost much of the rest in securities trading for which he was unqualified,” said Josh Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Michigan. “I appreciate the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance in providing a measure of justice to the victims of this serious financial crime.”
The FBI investigated the case, with assistance from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin M. Presant.