New York authorities arrested Apostolos “Paul” Pitsironis, a former investment advisor at Janney Montgomery Scott, in Dix Hills, N.Y. for defrauding former clients of $411,000. Pitsironis, 52, used his illegal gains to pay off personal debts that included casino gambling debts and credit card bills, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
“[Pitsironis deceived] both his victims and the financial services firm for whom he worked,” said William Sweeney, the FBI assistant director-in-charge, in a statement.
The Long Islander is accused of transferring client assets to an unauthorized bank account in Pitsironis’ name from May to June 2019. The Department of Justice reported 22 transfers were made during that time totaling $411,000. To cover his tracks, Pitsironis told Janney that the client approved the transfer, and the receiving bank account was in the client’s name.
Janney fired Pitsironis, who worked out of its Melville, N.Y. branch, in June after its internal investigation uncovered the unauthorized transactions. The firm later reimbursed the client.
“Upon discovering the improper actions taken by this advisor with one client account, he was promptly terminated, and the client was fully reimbursed. Janney has fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so,” said Janney in a statement sent by email.
Pitsironis’ BrokerCheck profile reveal he also took loans from his customers and failed to pay those clients back. It’s not clear if the accusers were at Janney or previous firms Pitsironis worked for. He settled those disputes with an agreed upon repayment amount. He repaid a total of $369,771 though he borrowed $433,974.90. Pitsironis is indefinitely sanctioned from associating with any FINRA or SEC member firm and its employees.
Pitsironis joined Janney in 2001 and stayed until 2007. In 2018, he rejoined the firm from Wells Fargo Clearing Services where he spent six years. He brought with him a client, a Long Island married couple, he had been managing assets for since 2009 when he worked for RBC Capital Markets.
His relationship with them came to a halt when one of the spouses called the Janney client service desk to inquire of a series of unauthorized transactions in the couple’s jointly owned account. The call prompted an investigation, and the firm traced the transactions to Pitsironis’ company laptop. The firm fired Pitsironis in June 2019.
Janney unlinked the unauthorized account and then retrieved bank records of the transactions associated with that account. The bank report showed Pitsironis allegedly move the ill-gotten funds from that bank to two accounts, one in his name and another jointly owned with his wife, at a different bank.
A report from the second bank was obtained showing that Pitsironis allegedly used the funds to pay his relatives, his family’s credit card bills, his daughter’s student loans and his casino gambling debt.
Janney was able to recover $222,364.13 from the bank account that was linked to their clients’ account but was still out $188,635.87 for the $411,000. Janney has since sued Pitsironis for the remaining debt.
Pitsironis could not be reached for comment. If he is convicted of wire fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison.