SEC charges barred broker in IPO scam

Peter Quartararo told clients he’d buy ‘pre-IPO’ shares in prominent private companies including Peloton and Airbnb.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Peter R. Quartararo of Hicksville, New York, a former broker, with fraudulently raising funds from investors purportedly to purchase shares of prominent private companies including Peloton and Airbnb prior to their initial public offerings.

The SEC also charged as relief defendants three individuals — Quartararo’s girlfriend, Lisa Eckert; his father, Leonard Quartararo; and a business associate, Paul Casella, a convicted felon and former broker who was barred by Finra; as well as Casella’s company, Private Equity Solutions.

The SEC’s complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest from Quartararo and the four relief defendants, as well as an injunction and civil penalty against Quartararo.

According to the SEC’s complaint, in the summer of 2019, Quartararo began soliciting investors to invest through him in shares of several “unicorn” companies, which were expected to increase in value when those companies completed their IPOs. The complaint alleges that he convinced at least four investors to invest a total of $436,000 in the purported pre-IPO shares.

The SEC charged that Quartararo never purchased or held any pre-IPO shares in these companies on behalf of the investors. Instead, it said that he stole the funds and used them for his own personal benefit, including for payments on a Maserati, and for the benefit of his father, his girlfriend and Casella.

Over the course of a 12-year career, Quartararo worked for 13 brokerage firms, four of which were expelled by Finra.

[More: Internet scams are top threat to investors, NASAA says]

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