On May 30, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil complaint against Mr. Steven Pagartanis, alleging that the East Setauket, NY stockbroker purportedly “[d]efrauded at least nine retail investors of approximately $8 million by soliciting and selling them securities using false and misleading statements from 2013 to at least February 2018 (the ‘Relevant Period’).” During the Relevant Period, Mr. Pagartanis was affiliated with Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. (“Cadaret”) (CRD# 10641) from 2012 – 2017 and, thereafter, with Lombard Securities Incorporated (CRD# 27954) (“Lombard”).
As alleged by the SEC in its Complaint filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York (SEC v Pagartanis Complaint), Mr. Pagartanis purportedly solicited certain of his customers — many of them retirees who relied upon his advice and investment recommendations — to invest in what was touted as a safe and conservative investment “[w]ith a fixed percentage return, generally between 4.5 and 8 percent annually.” Specifically, the SEC alleged that Mr. Pagartanis informed at least five investors that they were investing in the common stock of Genesis Land Development Co. (“GDC”), a Canadian real estate firm listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. According to the SEC’s Complaint, in actuality the investment capital raised by Mr. Pagartanis was allegedly funneled to an LLC sharing the name Genesis, for which Pagartanis was the sole member and owner of the LLC.
The SEC has alleged that Mr. Pagartanis conducted a fraudulent scheme, under which he purportedly “[t]ransferred the money raised to his personal bank account, to other entities he controlled, and used around $1.8 million to make monthly interest payments to his customers.” In typical Ponzi-like fashion, the scheme reportedly collapsed in early 2018 when Mr. Pagartanis failed to pay investors their monthly interest payments.
Mr. Pagartanis’ career in the securities industry began in 1989. Since that time, he has been affiliated with numerous broker-dealers as a registered representative. Most recently, Mr. Pagartanis was associated with Cadaret from 2012 – 2017, and thereafter, Lombard. According to publicly available information through FINRA BrokerCheck, Mr. Pagartanis was discharged from his employment with Lombard following an “internal investigation” pursuant to which he purportedly “failed to respond to customer complaint questions and requests for information.”
Brokerage firms Cadaret and Lombard have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised, a duty which includes monitoring their brokers in connection with outside business activities and/or sales of investments in so-called private placements. Brokerage firms must also take reasonable steps to ensure that their financial advisors follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, in addition to internal policies and procedures. In instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their registered representatives, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.
At Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C., we have successfully resolved a number of disputes on behalf of investors, including losses sustained due to instances of fraudulent conduct such as Ponzi schemes, and related broker misconduct. Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.