New Jersey Broker Charged in “Cherry-Picking” Scheme
BOSTON – A former New Jersey broker was arrested and charged today with defrauding his clients by engaging in a multi-year “cherry-picking” scheme.
Michael Bressman, 61, of Montville, N.J., was arrested and charged in an indictment unsealed today with securities fraud and investment advisor fraud. Bressman will appear this afternoon in federal court in New Jersey.
The indictment alleges that Bressman misused his access to an omnibus or “allocation” account to obtain at least $700,000 in illicit trading profits over a six-year period ending in February 2018. Bressman allegedly used the allocation account to place trades and cherry-picked profitable trades, which he then transferred to his own account and the account of two family members, while placing unprofitable trades in other customers’ accounts.
In a parallel action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in New York today announced civil charges against Bressman.
The charge of securities fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 25 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $5 million. The charge of investment advisor fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The SEC’s Market Abuse Unit in New York provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.