Investment company paying $8.25M in N.J. settlement
NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A Union County-based investment company and its owner will pay $8.25 million to settle allegations investors were defrauded through a Ponzi scheme.
Anthony Lucchetto Jr., owner of Serafino Holdings, L.L.C., is permanently barred from working in the state's securities industry, under the settlement approved by Superior Court Judge John F. Malone.
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities within the Division of Consumer Affairs filed suit against Lucchetto and Serafino Holdings in 2009, alleging that they put investors' monies into a fund to be used for commercial bridge loans in construction projects that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. Lucchetto Jr. also shifted some monies to his father, it is claimed.
"Lucchetto and his companies took investors' hard-earned monies and guaranteed high rates of return on their investments. Instead, investors lost money because of the lies and fraud committed by this con artist," Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
Lucchetto allegedly told investors that their invested funds were 99 percent secured by asset liens and they would receive 6.5 percent quarterly rates of return on their investments. Lucchetto previously had been registered with the Bureau of Securities as an agent and investment adviser representative but was not registered at the time he was making most of these solicitations and taking money from investors.
Bureau of Securities investigators identified approximately 75 allegedly affected investors. The settlement requires disgorgement and payment of $7.2 million in restitution to the investors, plus payment of $1.05 million in civil penalties to the state.