New Jersey Broker Pleads Guilty In “Cherry-Picking” Scheme
BOSTON – A former New Jersey securities broker pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark, N.J. today to charges of defrauding his clients by engaging in a multi-year “cherry-picking” scheme.
Michael Bressman, 61, of Montville, N.J., formerly of FCG Advisors and FCG Wealth Management in Chatham, N.J., pleaded guilty to securities fraud and investment advisor fraud. U.S. District Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey scheduled sentencing for November 2019. On Sept. 11, 2018, Bressman was charged by indictment in the District of Massachusetts, and the case was transferred to the District of New Jersey on Nov. 8, 2018.
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 used the allocation account to place trades and cherry-picked profitable trades, which he then transferred to his own account and the account of family members, while placing unprofitable trades in other customers’ accounts.
The charge of securities fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 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. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the government recommended a sentenced of 24 to 40 months in prison.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, 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 Securities and Financial Fraud Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Howard of the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.