The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment in a U.S. District Court last week against a Connecticut-based financial advisor who defrauded at least nine investors, several of whom were elderly, of more than $1 million. The judgment caps a multiyear saga that landed the former advisor a prison sentence totaling more than seven years.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut ordered Vaccarelli to pay disgorgement plus prejudgment interest totaling more than $1.5 million.
The SEC filed the charges against Vaccarelli in 2017. The regulator claimed that at least nine clients, many of whom are elderly, were among his victims.
But the United States Attorney’s office for the District of Connecticut said the fraud was even more widespread, with a total of 15 victims. Vaccarelli, who was previously a broker with The Investment Center and an investment advisor with IC Advisory Services, told clients he would put their money in interest-earning investments, when, in reality, he used the funds to pay business and personal expenses, including tuition and mortgage payments. He also used some of it to pay off other investors.
The SEC claimed that he asked one customer to sign an agreement stating she would not provide certain information to FINRA or the SEC.
Victims included an elderly woman, a woman with diminished capacity, a retired schoolteacher, a retired construction worker and medical professionals.
The SEC judgment follows an 11-day criminal trial against Vaccarelli in 2019, after which he was sentenced to 90 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He’s currently serving that sentence in federal prison in Massachusetts. In December 2020, he was also ordered to pay restitution of about $1.5 million after a civil trial.