from the Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged an unregistered broker living outside Tampa, Florida, with stealing investor funds as part of a fraudulent day trading scheme.

The SEC alleges that Albert J. Scipione and his business partner solicited investors to establish accounts at their company called Traders Café for the purposes of day trading, which entails the rapid buying and selling of stocks throughout the day in hope that the stock values continue climbing or falling for the seconds to minutes they own them so they can lock in quick profits. Scipione touted Traders Café’s software trading platform and made a series of false misrepresentations to investors about low commissions and fees, high trading leverage, and safety of their assets. More than $500,000 was raised from investors who were assured that funds invested with Traders Café would be segregated and used only for day trading or other specific business purposes. However, many customers encountered technical service problems that prevented them from trading at all, and Scipione and his business partner squandered nearly all of the money in investor accounts for their personal use. Meanwhile, Traders Café was never registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer as required under the federal securities laws. Said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office:

Scipione portrayed Traders Café as a broker-dealer for customers interested in day trading, but it became merely a depository from which he stole investor funds for himself.

The SEC previously charged Scipione’s business partner Matthew P. Ionno, who agreed to settle the case and has been barred from the securities industry. Financial penalties will be decided by the court at a later date.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida today announced that Scipione has pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office previously brought a criminal case against Ionno.

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