NEWARK – The Office of the Attorney General and New Jersey Bureau of Securities have filed suit against a Haskell-based marketing company and three of its top executives, alleging that they defrauded more than 50 investors of approximately $1.4 million.
The six-count Complaint, filed in State Superior Court in Paterson, alleges that the defendants committed multiple violations of the state’s Uniform Securities Law. The defendants are Branded Marketing, LLC (also known as 1800tarjetas.com) and its successor company, Branded Marketing, Inc.; Richard Jackowitz, 59, of Warwick, N.Y., President/CEO; Anthony Uva, 49, of Skillman, N.J., Chief Marketing Officer; and Patrick Gainey, 55, of Belle Mead, N.J., Manager of Investor Relations.
The defendants allegedly told perspective investors that Branded Marketing would launch a pre-paid debit card with international calling features which would be marketed to Hispanic consumers who were unable to procure a traditional credit card. As a result of these misrepresentations, the defendants raised at least $3 million from investors.
The Complaint alleges that, among other violations, instead of using the money for legitimate business purposes as he had represented to investors, Jackowitz misused hundreds of thousands of dollars of Branded Marketing and investor funds for his personal use, including the purchase of a 28-foot boat, installation of a home theater, meals and gifts, among other items.
The Complaint also alleges that Jackowitz improperly diverted Branded Marketing and investor funds to IT Connect, Inc., another company allegedly owned and controlled by Jackowitz. IT Connect is named as a nominal defendant in the state’s Complaint.
“The defendants defrauded investors through their alleged actions,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. “Our Bureau of Securities remains vigilant in investigating financial fraud and protecting the hard-earned assets of investors.”
The Bureau further alleges in its Complaint that the defendants violated state law by selling unregistered securities, acting as agents without being registered and making materially false or misleading statements and omissions of material facts to investors.
“These defendants pitched what appeared to be a legitimate investment opportunity but was actually just a song-and-dance routine to get investors to part with their money,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. “They used deceit and lies to line their pockets with investors’ money.”
The state’s Complaint seeks disgorgement of all profits, restitution for investors, imposition of civil penalties, and enjoining the defendants from working in the state’s securities industry in any capacity.
“Investors tend to lower their guard, and be more trusting, when someone they know socially or professionally offers them a supposed ‘hot investment tip’ or ‘ground floor opportunity, as happened here,’” Tiger said. “I urge every investor to perform due diligence and to use the Bureau as resource to check on the person offering the investment and the investment itself.”
Deputy Attorney General Isabella T. Stempler in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section of the Division of Law is representing the state. Supervising Investigator Michael McElgunn and Investigator Michael LaChapelle of the Bureau of Securities investigated this matter.
The Bureau of Securities can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey at 1-866-I-INVEST (1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at 973-504-3600. The Bureau’s website is located at www.njsecurities.gov .