Michael Oppenheim, 49, a former financial advisor at JP Morgan has pleaded guilty to embezzling and security fraud. He is one of three US advisors to admit to fraudulent activity in the last few weeks.
The broker was accused of using over $22m of his clients’ money to feed for his own gambling habits and options trading according to Reuters.
Oppenheim, a New Jersey resident, had been a private client advisor in Manhattan and over an eight year period had been withdrawing clients funds for his own purposes while telling them they would be invested. He is thought to have convinced at least two clients to withdraw as much as $12m depositing the funds into his own brokerage account.
He is also thought to have forged account statements and transferred funds between customer accounts in order to hide his theft.
JP Morgan is reportedly working with all clients affected and, at the time of Oppenheim’s arrest said they had alerted U.S. authorities to the matter. Oppenheim was fired in March.
It is believed Oppenheim lost the majority of the money from poor decisions in options trading.
According to Reuters, Oppenheim said he was ‘ashamed’ and wished he had been caught sooner.
The charges could mean a prison sentence of up to 50 years, although under the plea federal guidelines call for a sentence between 8 to 10 years that Oppenheim would be unable to appeal.
Sentencing will take place in February.
This comes as a Twin Cities Advisor is also sentenced in Minnesota for stealing around $1.1m from clients and another New Jersey advisor is sentenced to five years after scamming clients out of $900,000 by diverting their investment checks for his personal use.