While former stock promoter Robert J. Vitale sits in prison for two years for lying to investigators in a previous investigation about another matter, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided to file fraud charges against him. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, accuses Vitale of defrauding investors in a real estate venture in Florida. While this investigation continues, victims of Vitale’s fraud are encouraged to begin talking with investment fraud lawyers, who may be able to help them recover their losses.
Vitale is being charged with selling unregistered securities and acting as an unregistered broker. According to the charges, Vitale and his firm (Realty Acquisitions & Trust Inc.) were able to raise $8.7 million from their investors, many of whom were seniors who may now be looking to hire securities fraud lawyers to represent them in filing their claims. In a news release, the SEC stated that Vitale allegedly led the investors to believe that their money was “100% protected” even though that was untrue. That charge (if found guilty) could give the defrauded victims and their investment fraud lawyers great leverage during arbitration.
To get investors, Vitale also allegedly claimed to hold a business degree from the University of Notre Dame, and that he was a financial expert. While Vitale did go to Notre Dame high school in West Haven, Connecticut, he did not go to the South Bend, Indiana college. Also named in the complaint was the Coral Springs Investment Group (also known as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Company), which stands accused of holding onto assets of the investors that should have been returned.
In 2013, Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, sought an injunction against Vitale and two Broward County companies (The Cambridge Land Trust Company and The Hartford Land Trust Company) when they were accused of misleading consumers by charging upfront fees and promising better mortgage deals in exchange for consumers handing over the titles to their homes to the land trusts. In that case, Vitale and his alleged accomplices received an order from Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates to stop doing business.
If you suffered significant losses as a result of securities fraud, you may have a valid claim to recover money with the help of a securities arbitration lawyer. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a stockbroker claims lawyer Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.