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Michael Bressman: SEC Complaint Against Chatham Financial Advisor

A pending civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission against former Chatham, New Jersey broker and investment advisor Michael Bressman (CRD# 873973) alleges he participated in a fraudulent investment scheme that generated ill-gotten gains of at least $700,000. A former representative of FCG Advisors, Bressman is currently not registered with any FINRA member firm.

Filed in 2018, the SEC’s complaint alleges that while he was registered with FCG Wealth Management and FCG Advisors, Bressman engaged in a “cherry-picking scheme” in which he “secretly misused his access to his customers’ brokerage accounts to enrich himself and two of his family members.” He allegedly “received at least $700,000 in ill-gotten gains” at the expense of investors the SEC describes as mostly “Main Street” customers with modest portfolios. His alleged scheme involved an activity called “cherry picking,” in which brokers defraud customers “by purchasing stock and then waiting to see whether the price of the stock goes up, or down, before allocating the trade.” In instances where the price rises, brokers keep the trade for themselves or for accounts they consider favored; in instances where the price decreases, they place the transactions in “disfavored” accounts, ultimately allocating profitable trades to the favored accounts and unprofitable trades to disfavored. In Bressman’s alleged scheme, the SEC states, he “most frequently… transferred the profitable trades to his Personal Account” from an allocation account, although he transferred some to an account held by his sister-in-law and her spouse. The SEC states that Bressman “misappropriated profits that should have gone to his Customer Accounts” through this scheme while steering clear of losses that the SEC states should have been suffered by his account and his family members’ account. The SEC alleges that his conduct constituted violations of various antifraud statues and SEC rules in the complaint, which remains pending in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Michael Bressman’s disclosure records also list criminal charges filed against him in 2018 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts: specifically, one felony count of Investment Adviser Fraud and one felony count of Securities Fraud. The case remains pending.

Michael Bressman is currently not registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes FCG Advisors in Chatham, New Jersey and Merrill Lynch in New York, New York. He currently holds zero state licenses and has passed five securities industry qualification examinations.

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