The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred 60-year-old former broker, Steven Pagartanis, who was sentenced to 170 months in prison last year for defrauding 17 brokerage customers out of $13 million between January 2000 and March 2018.
Pagartanis began his brokerage career 1989 and was affiliated with multiple firms including Lombard Securities, Cadaret, Grant & Co., Woodbury Financial, Invest Financial, Yankee Financial, and Park Avenue Securities.
In January 2020, Pagartanis pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and sentenced to a prison term of 170 months followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay roughly $6.5 million in restitution. He is currently incarcerated at FCI Danbury, a low security federal correctional institution in Connecticut.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in May 2018, Pagartanis allegedly told investors, some of whom had been his clients for many years, that he would invest their funds in either a publicly-traded or private land development company and guaranteed monthly interest payments of between 4.5 and 8 percent.
One such company, Genesis Land Development Co., is a Canadian land development and home building company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The SEC claims that Pagartanis directed the investors to write checks to a similarly-named entity, Genesis I, that he controlled.
To conceal the alleged fraud, which unraveled in early 2018 when Pagartanis stopped making the “interest payments” to customers, he created fictitious account statements reflecting ownership interests in the land development companies.
FINRA barred Pagartanis in 2018 for refusing to provide on-the-record testimony in connection with its investigation of allegations that he made fraudulent misrepresentation to customers and misappropriated customers’ funds.