A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. investment adviser has been charged with stealing $20 million from clients. Michael Oppenheim recently was arrested at his New Jersey home and charged with fraud and embezzlement. This is just one more headache for JP Morgan, which currently is the subject of an SEC investigation into conflicts regarding sales of JP Morgan proprietary products.
According to the complaint, Oppenheim convinced some of his clients to allow him to withdraw money from their accounts and invest it in low-risk municipal bonds. Instead, he allegedly obtained cashier’s checks and deposited them into brokerage accounts that he controlled. He is accused of spending the money on unprofitable stock and options trades and using some of the money to pay personal bills and a mortgage payment. He allegedly lost approximately $13.5 million of clients’ money.
Prosecutors also accused Oppenheim of trying to cover up his fraud by giving clients fabricated account statements that made it look like he had purchased the bonds that he had promised to buy for the clients.