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Leon Vaccarelli of Waterbury, Connecticut Charged With Running Alleged Ponzi Scheme

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) initiated an action against 40-year old Leon Vaccarelli by filing a sixteen-page complaint (“SEC Complaint”) in federal court in New Haven, CT.  The SEC is alleging that Mr. Vaccarelli, based in Waterbury, CT, engaged in operating a Ponzi Scheme for more than four years, during which time he allegedly misappropriated client funds.  The SEC Complaint alleges that Vaccarelli diverted client money from investment accounts, as promised, and instead used the funds for such personal expenses as mortgage payments.  Moreover, the SEC Complaint alleges that Mr. Vaccarelli used client funds in order to make payments to earlier investors, a hallmark sign of a Ponzi scheme.


A review of FINRA’s BrokerCheck indicates that Leon (or Lee) William Vaccarelli (CRD# 3227636) entered the securities industry in 1999.  Since that time, Mr. Vaccarelli has been affiliated with the following firms: Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (CRD# 6363) (1999-2007), QA3 Financial Corp. (CRD# 14754) (2007-2011), and most recently — The Investment Center (CRD# 17839) (2011-2017).

The SEC Complaint alleges that Vaccarelli used investor money to pay for various personal expenses, and further alleges that he stole money from a trust fund while serving as trustee.  The SEC Complaint alleges that at least nine clients, many of whom were elderly, were defrauded by Vaccarelli, who was recently discharged by his employer, the broker-dealer The Investment Center, in July of this year.

The Investment Center’s CEO, Ralph DeVito recently made the following statement concerning the allegations against Mr. Vaccarelli: “Since being made aware of the situation with Mr. Vaccarelli we have been cooperating fully with the SEC’s investigation.  We are outraged by Mr. Vaccarelli’s behavior and continue to investigate this matter internally in order to aid ongoing investigations.”

Mr. Vaccarelli’s regulatory history in the securities industry is checkered.  FINRA reports a total of ten (10) disclosures, including the following disclosures:

  • FINRA Enforcement Proceeding – in November 2015, FINRA resolved a regulatory proceeding concerning Mr. Vaccarelli through an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (“AWC”). Specifically, Mr. Vaccarelli, without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, consented to a penalty of $7,500.00 in connection with the impermissible exercise of discretion in client accounts without the proper written authorization to do so.  In addition, Mr. Vaccarelli was suspended for one month;
  • Customer Complaint (Pending) – a pending dispute initiated in August 2017 concerns allegations of misappropriation of funds in the amount of $300,000;
  • Customer Complaint (Pending) – a pending dispute initiated in August 2017 concerns allegations of conversion and civil theft in the amount of $79,874;
  • Customer Complaint (Pending) – a pending dispute was initiated in September 2017 against Mr. Vaccarelli concerning allegations of losses sustained through an investment in a REIT.

The attorneys at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. have significant experience in recovering funds on behalf of investors who have fallen victim to perpetrators of financial frauds, including Ponzi schemes.  If you or a loved one have invested in what you believe may be a Ponzi scheme or some other fraudulent enterprise, you may contact our office at (866) 966-9598 or for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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