– A Union County-based investment
company and its owner will pay $8.25 million
to settle a lawsuit filed when investors
were defrauded through a Ponzi scheme and
unauthorized investment of funds, under
terms of a Final Judgment and Consent Order.
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.
New Jersey Bureau of Securities within the
Division of Consumer Affairs filed suit
against Lucchetto Jr. 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.
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.
Jr. told investors that their invested funds
were 99% secured by asset liens and they
would receive 6.5% quarterly rates of return
on their investments. Lucchetto Jr. 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.
rather than lucrative investments, fueled
this Ponzi scheme,” said Thomas R.
Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division
of Consumer Affairs. “Deceptions such
as this underscore the importance of performing
due diligence and verifying that the investment,
as well as the person offering the investment,
are registered with our Bureau of Securities.”
of Securities investigators identified approximately
75 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. The Bureau of Securities previously
requested and obtained court approval to
freeze Lucchetto Jr’s. and the company’s
assets and to seize records and computers.
G. Bassman, Chief of Enforcement for the
NJBOS, conducted the investigation of this
case. Deputy Attorneys General Victoria
A. Manning, Isabella T. Stempler and Elizabeth
R. Lash of the Securities Fraud Prosecution
Section, represented the NJBOS.
Bureau of Securities can be contacted toll-free
within New Jersey at 1-866-I-INVEST
(1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey
at 973-504-3600. The Bureau's
web site is located at www.njsecurities.gov.