SEC Announces Settlement in Fraud Case Against Cornelius Peterson

The SEC announced on November 16, 2018, the entry of a final judgment against Cornelius Peterson, a former investment adviser at a large financial institution who was charged with misappropriating client funds.

On January 31, 2018, the Commission filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts charging Cornelius Peterson and his former colleague, James Polese, with securities fraud for engaging in various schemes to defraud their clients, including fraudulently misappropriating $350,000 of their client’s money, using $100,000 of those funds to make investments in their own names, and directing the remaining $250,000 to James Polese’s personal bank account and investing $100,000 of another client’s funds into an investment in which Cornelius Peterson and James Polese held a financial interest, without informing the client or disclosing their conflict of interest.

The Court has now entered a final judgment against Cornelius Peterson based upon his consent to resolve all claims. Peterson agreed to disgorge $57,300 in ill-gotten gains and pay prejudgment interest of $5,261. In addition to ordering this monetary relief, the final judgment charges Cornelius Peterson from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as well as aiding and abetting any investment advisers’ violations of the books and records provisions of Section 204 of the Investment Advisers Act and Rule 204-2. The monetary judgment will be deemed satisfied by the $107,300 Cornelius Peterson paid in restitution in connection with a parallel criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, in which Cornelius Peterson pleaded guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud, and bank fraud, and was also sentenced to twenty months imprisonment. The Commission has also entered an order barring Cornelius Peterson from associating with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognized statistical rating organization, and from participating in any offering of a penny stock.

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