The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged former Long Island, N.Y., broker Steven Pagartanis with defrauding long-standing customers in an $8 million investment scam.
The Suffolk County district attorney's office also filed criminal charges against Mr. Pagartanis, who most recently was affiliated with Lombard Securities, which dismissed him in April. The former broker also was barred in April by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. after refusing to appear at a Finra hearing.
According to the SEC's complaint, Mr. Pagartanis told some investors that he would invest their funds in either a publicly traded or private land development company. He promised that the funds would be safe and also promised guaranteed monthly interest payments. The SEC said that Mr. Pagartanis directed his investors to write checks payable to an entity he secretly controlled, Omega Planning Associates in Setauket, N.Y.
In all, the customers invested approximately $8 million, which Mr. Pagartanis used to pay personal expenses and make the guaranteed "interest" payments to his customers.
Mr. Pagartanis worked at nine firms over the course of a career that began in 1989, and worked at Cadaret Grant three times before being discharged in 2017 after the firm received results of an arbitration involving unauthorized trading.