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Ponzi Scheme Complaints Against Ex-Madison Avenue Rep Vincent Virga

Naples, Florida investment adviser Vincent Virga (CRD# 5070668) is involved in customer disputes concerning alleged Ponzi scheme GPB Capital. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Virga was previously registered with Madison Avenue Securities as a broker, but is currently only registered with the firm as an investment adviser. 

Vincent Virga’s BrokerCheck report describes two pending customer disputes against him. It also describes two enforcement actions by securities regulators. One of those actions was undertaken by FINRA, which in 2020 announced findings that Virga had recommended a customer place $480,000 in a mutual fund investment while failing to disclose various cost savings that were available to the customer. FINRA alleged that the customer invested in six mutual funds in five mutual fund families, receiving “some breakpoint discounts” but still paying “$19,697 in sales charges.” Virga allegedly either was aware or should have been aware that there were cost savings available to the customer “based on a right of accumulation arising from the customer’s existing mutual fund investments held at another broker-dealer firm.” He allegedly failed to disclose “that even greater cost savings were available,” including that the customer could “potentially” have paid no sales charges. FINRA fined Virga $5,000 over these findings, ordered him to pay $19,687 in restitution, and suspended him for one month. Virga said in a comment on the action that he believes he “provided the highest quality of service and true diversification which also included the benefit of discounted breakpoints,” and that the customer was “an experienced, high net worth investor to whom I provided complete and full disclosure in advance of his first investment with me.”

As a result of FINRA’s suspension of Vincent Virga, the Florida Department of Financial Services launched its own investigation of him in 2021, according to his BrokerCheck report. The Department subsequently placed him on probation for one year, and ordered him to pay $3,000 in fines and other penalties. 

The pending customer disputes against Vincent Virga were both filed in 2021 by customers of Madison Avenue Securities. The most recent, filed in August, alleged that he recommended unsuitable alternative investments, including in GPB Capital, an alleged Ponzi scheme. The other, filed in June, alleges he recommended unsuitable alternative investments. The complaints allege at least $495,000 in damages. 

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Vincent Virga holds 14 years of securities industry experience. He is not registered as a broker; he is registered as an investment adviser with Madison Avenue Securities’ office in Naples, Florida. His previous broker registrations include Madison Avenue Securities (Bayonne, New Jersey) and Prime Capital Services (Bayonne, New Jersey). He has passed the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, and the General Securities Representative Examination. (Information current as of November 15, 2021.)

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