Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Friday, May 31, 2013

Former Broker Charged with Obstructing Justice for Lying to SEC Investigators

The SEC announced that the subject of an enforcement inquiry in Florida has has been criminally charged with obstructing justice and lying to SEC investigators looking into his real estate securities offerings to investors.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has filed criminal charges against former broker Robert J. Vitale.  According to the criminal information filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the SEC issued subpoenas to Vitale and his investment company Realty Acquisitions & Trust in order to identify investor funds and assets related to the securities offerings. The SEC investigators subpoenaed Vitale for all related bank records and took his sworn testimony.

The criminal information alleges that Vitale lied about the existence of two separate bank accounts that he did not disclose to the SEC. Vitale was charged by the SEC several years ago for participating in a pump-and-dump market manipulation scheme. Vitale later settled the charges in federal district court and was barred from the brokerage industry.

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