– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor
announced that a Bergen County man has been
indicted on charges that he defrauded hundreds
of investors of more than $1.7 million by
selling unregistered shares of stock in
his startup horseshoe manufacturing company.
to Director Taylor, the Division of Criminal
Justice obtained a five-count state grand
jury indictment charging Samuel M. Serritella,
65, of Garfield, with securities fraud,
theft by deception, misapplication of entrusted
property, money laundering, and misconduct
by a corporate official, all in the second
degree. The indictment was voted yesterday
and filed in court today.
charges resulted from an investigation by
the New Jersey Bureau of Securities and
the Division of Criminal Justice. Serritella
was initially charged by complaint on July
21, 2009. Deputy Attorney General Francine
S. Ehrenberg presented the case to the state
grand jury for the Division of Criminal
Justice Major Crimes Bureau.
was president, chief financial officer and
chairman of International Surfacing Inc.,
based at 5 Erie Street in Garfield. Between
February 2002 and May 2008, Serritella allegedly
obtained in excess of $1.7 million from
more than 300 investors by selling them
shares of International Surfacing. The shares
were not registered with the Bureau of Securities
as required by law, and Serritella was not
registered as an agent authorized to sell
securities in New Jersey.
investors were from New Jersey, and many
of them were police officers and firefighters.
Serritella represented that he was manufacturing
therapeutic horseshoes with a cushioning
layer of rubber on them. He held investment
conferences where he told investors they
could get in on the ground floor by purchasing
shares in a company he planned to take public.
He allegedly told at least one group of
investors during a hotel meeting that the
venture’s clients included a prince
in Dubai who purchased the shoes for his
camels. He also falsely claimed that they
were being used by Olympic competitors and
would be used in the Olympics in Athens,
allegedly stole more than $350,000 in investor
funds to pay for personal expenses. Although
he used some funds for startup costs for
the company, including renting a building
and paying salaries, he never purchased
the necessary equipment and tools to manufacture
the horseshoes, and the venture failed.
allegedly deposited the investors’
funds into several bank accounts that he
controlled. He allegedly wrote checks to
himself, made cash withdrawals at ATMs,
paid credit card bills, and made debit card
purchases using investor funds in the accounts.
He used the funds to pay for such personal
expenses as airline and hotel bills, tavern
bills, and medical costs. He also allegedly
used investor funds to make personal loans
to friends totaling $64,000.
Attorney General Ehrenberg and Detective
Michael Fallon are handling the case for
the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes
Bureau of Securities investigation was conducted
by Chief of Investigations Rudolph Bassman.
Deputy Attorney General Victoria Manning
represented the Bureau in its investigation.
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years
in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000.
The second-degree money laundering charge
carries a maximum fine of $500,000, and
an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty
of up to $250,000.
indictment is merely an accusation and the
defendant is presumed innocent until proven
indictment was handed up to Superior Court
Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County,
who assigned the case to Bergen County,
where Serritella will be ordered to appear
at a later date to answer the charges.
copy of the indictment is posted with this
release at www.njpublicsafety.com.
the time that Serritella was initially charged
in July 2009, New Jersey Bureau of Securities
Chief Marc B. Minor issued an order assessing
a penalty of $20,000 against Serritella
for violation of the New Jersey Uniform
Securities Law. The Bureau Chief found that
Serritella committed securities fraud and
sold unregistered securities as an unregistered
Chief Minor noted that anyone offering to
sell securities in the state must be registered
with the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.
In many instances, the security itself must
also be registered before it can be offered
to investors. He urged investors to check
with the Bureau of Securities before investing
to see if the security and the person offering
it are registered. The Bureau of Securities
can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey
at 1-877-I-INVEST (1-877-446-8378)
or from outside New Jersey at 973-504-3600.
The Bureau’s web site is located at