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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Two New Jersey, One New York Securities Claims Aggregators Arrested and Charged with $40M Fraud

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Joseph Cammarata, 47, of Monmouth Beach, NJ; Erik Cohen, 40, of Manalapan, NJ; and David Punturieri, 41, of Staten Island, NY; were arrested and charged by Indictment on charges of conspiracy to commit multiple counts of fraud in connection with a securities fraud claims scheme.

The Indictment alleges that the three defendants were the principals of Alpha Plus Recovery, a claims aggregator firm based in Old Bridge, New Jersey. The Indictment further alleges that the defendants used Alpha Plus Recovery to make false and fraudulent claims, including claims made in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to the proceeds of securities fraud class action and SEC enforcement action settlements. The defendants falsely claimed that corporate clients of Alpha Plus Recovery had purchased shares of securities that were the subject of the lawsuits and enforcement actions. In reality, the clients, which were entities actually controlled by the defendants, had not purchased the subject securities. To substantiate the false claims, the defendants created fraudulent brokerage and other financial documents to provide to claims administrators. The defendants then allegedly transferred the fraudulently obtained funds into accounts they controlled. The Indictment alleges that between 2014 and 2021, the defendants received approximately $40 million from these false claims.

“As alleged, these defendants manipulated complicated financial transactions for years in order to steal roughly $40 million,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Cammarata, Cohen and Punturieri committed fraud on top of fraud, filing claims on behalf of clients that didn’t actually exist and doctoring false financial documents to support those fraudulent claims. Their alleged scheme has now been uncovered and they will have to answer for their conduct.”

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Ignall and Paul G. Shapiro.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250 Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyWilliams on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated November 4, 2021