Did you lose money with Michael Oppenheim, formerly of JP Morgan Chase? Oppenheim was recently barred from the industry after admitting that he stole more than $20 million from clients for trading stocks online, paying personal bills and gambling on sporting events. Oppenheim settled fraud charges with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week. Earlier this year, he pled guilty to criminal embezzlement and securities fraud charges in US District Court for the Southern District of New York and was sentenced to five years in prison. He also agreed to pay $20,185,225 to settle the criminal charges and pay restitution to JP Morgan Chase. He allegedly took client funds to buy himself cashier’s checks, which were deposited into brokerage accounts he controlled. The money was then used to engage in options trading. In 2008, he persuaded at least two customers to withdraw more than $12 million from their accounts, and he told them the funds would be used to buy municipal bonds or municipal bond funds. Instead, he used the money to pay a home loan, gambling debts and credit card bills and to buy luxury clothing and travel. He also covered up the scam by falsifying client account statements to show bonds owned by other customers, and by moving cash from one customer account to another to inflate balances. The SEC barred him from the industry.
Oppenheim was registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from April 1998 until May 1999, Prudential Securities in New York from May 1999 until July 2001, Chase Investment Services in Chicago, Illinois from February 2002 until February 2004, Wachovia Securities in St. Louis, Missouri from February 2004 until May 2004, Chase Investment Services Corp in New York from May 2004 until October 2012 and JP Morgan Securities in New York from October 2012 until April 2015. He has one customer dispute against him. He is not licensed within the industry and the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have permanently barred him.