If an investment sounds too good to be true…

By Staff | October 5, 2015 | Last updated on October 5, 2015
2 min read

Greed has a way of preventing people from performing the simplest forms of due diligence.

Imagine you’re planning to buy a new stove. You go to a brick-and-mortar store to find a model with the look and features you want. Then you do what everyone with an internet connection would do: you Google the make and model, and in a fraction of a second you have the information you need to determine if the salesperson’s trying to fleece you.

Read: SEC halts amber mine pyramid scheme

Now imagine someone says they can make you a lot of money on a hot stock scheme if you give them $357,000. You’d do even more due diligence than you would for a $2,000 appliance, right?

Enter Steven Staltare, a Florida man whose rap sheet includes multiple securities fraud convictions, a restitution order in the millions and a jail sentence. Despite this long and publicly available list of major infractions, Staltare recently duped at least four people into parting with large sums in the hope of making outsized returns.

“Seems that Staltare sort of left his criminal history and incarceration out of his deal pitches to Victims 1, 2, 3, and 4 — and it also seems that folks didn’t bother to check him out all that carefully,” explains Bill Singer, a securities lawyer based in New York, on his BrokeAndBroker blog.

“On September 29, 2015, Staltare, now 50, was sentenced to 77 months in prison, three years of supervised release, ordered to forfeit $846,250, and ordered to pay restitution of $846,250 to victims of his offenses,” notes Singer.

A simple Google search on Steven Staltare, adds Singer, yields a litany of unflattering news stories and source documents, such as this one from 2004.

More stories featuring commentary from Bill Singer:

Finally, common sense from the SEC (2013)

SEC report called “a sham” (2011)

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.