Registered Investment Advisor Charged with Stealing More Than $1 Million in Fraud Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a 12-count indictment yesterday charging LEON C. VACCARELLI, 41, of Waterbury, with fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from an investment scheme that defrauded individuals of more than $1 million.
VACCARELLI appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, and was released on a $100,000 bond.
As alleged in the indictment, VACCARELLI, was a registered representative of The Investment Center, a brokerage company, and was an investment adviser associated with IC Advisory Services, Inc. He also was the owner and only member of LWLVACC, LLC, and conducted business through an entity named Lux Financial Services. Using these various entities, VACCARELLI operated a financial advisory and brokerage service through which he offered investment advice and sold investments and securities to individuals and families in the Waterbury area.
Between approximately 2011 and 2017, it is alleged that VACCARELLI defrauded victim investors of more than $1 million by falsely representing that he would invest his clients’ money in IRA rollover accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (“CDs”), or other types of interest-earning investments. However, instead of investing customers’ funds as he had represented, VACCARELLI deposited customer funds into his own personal account and business bank accounts, commingled those funds with his own money, and used the funds to pay both business and personal expenses, including tuition and mortgage payments. In some instances, he also used customer funds to make bogus “interest payments” to other victim-investors.
The indictment charges VACCARELLI with three counts of mail fraud, and six counts of wire fraud, offenses that carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count. The indictment also charges VACCARELLI with three counts of money laundering, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry.
In a parallel action, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought related civil charges against VACCARELLI.