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Former JP Morgan Adviser Guilty of $20M Client Theft

Former JP Morgan Adviser Guilty of $20M Client Theft

In a New York federal court, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. investment adviser has plead guilty to stealing over $20 million from clients. In addition, he has admitted to squandering funds on unprofitable trades and personal expenses.

Michael Oppenheim, 49, plead guilty to embezzlement and securities fraud on November 5, 2015. He also agreed to hand over $22.4 million in forfeiture.

Oppenheim faces between 8 to 10 years in prison. He may not appeal any sentence within or below that range.

Charged in a criminal complaint earlier this year, Oppenheim has been in home detention – his movements monitored by a GPS device.

According to the complaint, as well as subsequent criminal information, Oppenheim abused his position of trust as a JPMorgan investment adviser by convincing some wealthy clients to allow the withdrawal of money from their accounts in order to invest in low-risk municipal bonds. Prosecutors maintain that Oppenheim obtained cashier’s checks and deposited them into brokerage accounts that he controlled. In some instances, clients were not made aware of money withdrew by Oppenheim.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a related civil suit that Oppenheim had used some of the funds on stock and options trades in numerous companies, including Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Netflix Inc. In 2014, the trades resulted in losses of over $13 million, according to the SEC.

Oppenheim gave clients fabricated account statements in an attempt to hide his scheme. The statements made it appear as though he had actually purchased bonds on their behalf.

The team of investment fraud lawyers at Starr Austen & Miller LLP fights for the protection of investors and handles cases involving securities arbitration misrepresentation, overconcentration, broker fraud, negligence and breach of trust.