[S]ince the customers incurred significant costs with every transaction and the securities were held briefly, the price of the securities had to rise significantly for customers to realize even a minimal profit. The complaint also alleges that Berkey and Fischer churned customer accounts and concealed material information from their customers, namely that the costs associated with their recommendations, including commissions and fees, would almost certainly exceed any potential gains on the trades. The complaint further alleges that Fischer engaged in unauthorized trading.Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Fischer consented to a final judgment that permanently enjoins him from similar violations in the future and orders him to return his allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest and pay a $160,000 penalty. The settlement is subject to court approval. Fischer separately agreed to an SEC order barring him from the securities industry and penny stock trading. The SEC's litigation against Berkey will proceed in federal district court in Manhattan.
From March 2016 to February 2017, DECKER and MERCADO engaged in a scheme designed to steal over $2 million from a deceased Manhattan woman (the "Victim"). As part of the scheme, DECKER and MERCADO stole stock certificates valued at over $2 million from the Victim's Manhattan apartment after the Victim's death in March 2016. In August 2016, based on false representations made by DECKER and MERCADO, a financial institution ("Company-1") opened a brokerage account (the "Account") in the Victim's name. DECKER and MERCADO then deposited the stolen stock certificates into the Account. In September 2016, based on additional false representations made by DECKER and MERCADO, Company-1 sold the shares in the brokerage account opened in the Victim's name, resulting in a cash balance in the Account of more than $2 million. DECKER and MERCADO then attempted to purchase over $2 million in gold coins using the assets in the Account.